2022 is only halfway over, and most of us are ready for it to end. Why? Inflation is at an all-time high. Everything is rising in price as our dollars are becoming worth less and less on a daily basis.
Not only are prices rising, but high-demand resources, such as oil, are in short supply. Americans, as well as every other nation, depend heavily on oil. And only a certain amount is sourced locally.
To power our nation, all the cars, homes, business, and planes, we need a lot of oil. So a global oil shortage is quickly becoming a big problem.
Luckily, every individual, home, and business can make changes to lessen their dependency on oil and make it through these tough times.
Want to know how to reduce oil consumption through your everyday actions? Keep reading below for five simple ways to use less oil.
Why Oil Is So Important
Oil is the world’s most important energy source. Our entire modern civilization depends on this resource (which is funny, considering it’s a limited, nonrenewable resource).
It’s used to generate electricity, which every home and business relies on 24/7. And it’s used to heat homes, which is vital for those in cold climates.
And, of course, it provides fuel for our cars, trucks, airplanes, and lawnmowers. It’s also used to create countless products we use on a daily basis, such as plastic, chemicals, fertilizers, detergents, and much more. If the world’s oil supply suddenly dried up, society would shut down.
So, where does oil come from? In 2021, the US produced more oil than any other nation in the world. Oil production in the US peaked in 1970, declined over the next three decades, and saw a huge increase leading up until now.
The US produces 20% of the world’s oil. Many in the US are calling on the president to allow for increased oil production. And many others fight it due to the negative impact it has on the environment, as it destroys local habitats. It also leads to increased effects of global warming.
Why Are We Experiencing an Oil Shortage?
In 2022, we are experiencing a severe oil shortage due to a number of reasons. For one, we are recovering from the pandemic.
In 2019, oil production reached a new all-time high. But in 2020, society shut down. Fewer planes were flying. Americans weren’t driving to work. And corporations ceased operations for weeks.
This led to a massive decline in oil demand, causing producers to lower their production.
In 2022, society is back in full swing. The travel industry is seeing massive demand. And oil demand is very high once again. And the oil industry is now playing catch up with the sudden demand for oil.
Additionally, Russia is the third-largest producer of oil, supplying oil to much of the planet. However, with their full-scale invasion of Ukraine, most of the world has sanctions against Russia and is now buying their oil, despite needing it.
This is straining oil suppliers in other parts of the world, increasing demand thanks to a lowered supply. These unfortunate circumstances lead to much higher prices at the pump, higher prices on utility bills, and higher prices everywhere as companies need to increase their prices due to higher production and transportation costs.
Changes to Make During the Oil Shortage
It all sounds doom and gloom, right? In some ways, it is. But these events are showing us that as a nation and as a planet, we are far too dependent on a single energy source.
There’s never been a more important time to make changes. And those changes start at the individual level.
Here are some of the most important things you can do to reduce the use of oil in your own life.
1. Limit Car Transportation
This is the one thing you don’t want to hear. But ultimately, it’s the most important change that Americans can make.
On a global scale, America ranks 4th for the most cars per person in the country. Americans are car fanatics, and many households have more than two vehicles.
As a nation, we have built most of our infrastructure around vehicle use. Very few cities in the US have effective public transportation. And almost no cities in the US have effective cycling infrastructure.
But doing anything you can do to limit the amount you drive will go a long way on your budget as well as the global oil shortage.
If you don’t want to drive less but have the money, you can purchase an electric vehicle, such as a Tesla, to eliminate the need to go to the gas station. But if you’re looking to save money without spending a fortune, here are some tips.
Most of the driving done by the average American is the daily commute. Getting to and from work uses up most of the gasoline we use.
Thankfully, one of the blessings that came with the pandemic was the increase in the number of remote workers. For millions of Americans, remote work is now permanent.
Even if you can only work remotely part-time, not having to drive to work a few days per week can go a long way. If you don’t work remotely at the moment, try negotiating an opportunity. Alternatively, consider a new career, as countless companies are hiring remote workers right now due to global access to talent and far fewer overhead expenses.
Ride a Bike More Often
Americans like motors. They like revving their engine. And in general, they hate physical activity. Sorry to say it, but it’s true. Just look at the obesity charts around the world.
Tiny island nations aside, the US leads the pack when it comes to obesity, followed by a handful of Middle Eastern nations.
Wondering how you can live healthier, spend more time outdoors (which increases happiness and productivity), and use less oil? Ride a bike more often. And not just for fun. But use your bike to get where you need to go.
Ride your bike to work. Ride with your children to drop them off at school. Ride to the gym, post office, and so forth.
Most car trips in the US are less than six miles. For any person capable of moderate activity levels, six miles is very easy. If you did that every day, you’d be healthier than 90% of the American population.
And in 2022, the use of electric bikes will be more common than ever before. Now, you can pedal further, faster, with the use of an e-bike that provides pedaling assistance.
Sure, it requires the charing of a battery. But that uses far fewer resources than driving a gasoline-powered vehicle. An e-bike might be one of the best investments you ever make for yourself and for the planet.
Cycling is great, as it allows you to get miles away from home in a short amount of time. Walking is great for any close-to-home trip.
If you need to get somewhere, that is less than one mile from your house. There’s no point in driving. Just take a walk. It’s free, it gives you access to fresh air and sunshine, and it doesn’t pollute the earth.
Plan Your Errands in Advance
Even if you commit to walking and cycling as much as possible, there are times when a car trip is necessary. If you need to go grocery shopping, travel far from home, transport kids or other people, or travel during inclement weather, cars exist for a reason.
To limit the use of a car but still benefit from it, plan your errands in advance. If you can complete everything all in one trip, you’ll save gas and time.
For example, if you need to go grocery shopping this week, stop at the post office, get your hair done, and drop a present off to a friend, combining those all into one trip will be much more fuel and time-efficient than five separate trips.
Again, this is something that Americans scoff at. But most of the world understands this.
Not everyone can work remotely. So if you need to get to the same place every day, consider carpooling. After all, your colleagues all have to get to work as well.
And you probably live near each other. There’s no reason in heaven or on earth that every individual needs to drive their own vehicle to the workplace.
By carpooling, two people can cut fuel usage in half. Plus, if you split the driving between two vehicles, that’s 50% less wear and tear on your vehicles, leading to fewer repair costs.
Americans might look down on carpooling, but if it puts more money in your pocket, you are the one who gets to brag.
2. Alternative Utilities
Transportation is the big, bad guy when it comes to oil usage. But residential applications arent’ too far behind. Every home and apartment relies on oil in one way or another.
For example, most of the electricity we use comes from fossil fuels (oil). And when we heat our homes with natural gas, that too is the result of oil production (as they are found in the same places).
Luckily, you can take steps to limit oil use in the home. For one, use less electricity. Turn off the lights when you leave the room. Turn off the TV when you aren’t watching.
Don’t have two refrigerators. Just buy one bigger one that is more energy-efficient. Invest in higher quality insulation so that you don’t lose cold air in the summer or warm air in the winter.
Also, you can try heating your home the old-fashioned way. Using a fireplace to create heat or using a wood-burning stove can save a lot of money on heating costs.
But one of the best things you can do is upgrade to green energy. Installing solar panels in your home can help reduce or eliminate your dependency on fossil fuel sources for your home.
Solar power during an oil shortage is the secret to savings. Head to this website to chat with the solar experts and see how you can benefit from solar panels.
3. Limit Waste
Oil is used to create countless products. And one of the worst (but also most useful) is plastic. All of the plastic packaging you buy from the store, only to put into your trash can, is a huge waste of oil.
By being more selective about the products you buy, you can limit plastic waste. Buying in bulk, rather than more expensive, single-serve packages saves on packaging.
Purchasing a water filter for your home or using refillable, five-gallon jugs is much better than using single-serve plastic water bottles.
For the waste you do generate, try recycling as much as possible. That might mean separating recyclables at home and dropping them off at a recycling facility if your curbside waste doesn’t accept certain items.
4. Shop Local
The logistics industry has made it possible for us to enjoy products from around the world on a daily basis. That’s how you can go to a big chain grocery store and buy bananas from Costa Rica, avocados from Mexico, and salmon from Norway.
But all of this transportation requires lots of fuel. Buying these products is supporting an inefficient industry. Instead, buy local whenever possible. Visit farmer’s markets or markets that sell locally sourced meat and produce.
On top of lower transportation costs, they usually don’t use a lot of plastic packaging.
5. Pressure Local Government to Prioritize Renewable Energy
Lastly, as local citizens, we can put pressure on our government to take positive action toward renewable energy. Our local governments can implement programs to incentivize the use of green energy.
They can also implement large-scale green energy solutions, such as wind farms, to help generate clean energy to use for our local utilities.
Write letters, make phone calls, and vote for candidates that are going to implement these solutions.
Take Positive Action Today
The oil shortage of 2022 is real. Hopefully, things get better before they get any worse. In either case, taking steps to lower your dependency on oil will go a long way. You’ll save money and enjoy a higher quality of life at the same time.
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