Thread: Jevon's paradox
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Old 01-11-2011, 06:04 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by noodles91380 View Post
To me, Javen's Paradox is very self evident. Over the past 30 years, we have come up with loads of new technologies to both make our vehicles more fuel efficient, and our drilling opperations more efficient and productive as well. The result, petroleum consumption has been ever increasing, and petroleum production has been plateauing. We have been forced to drill more and more dangerous places.

Another way to view it is from an urban development standpoint. Historically, during periods of cheap petroleum, more developments crop up on the outer fringes, people think "hey, I can live 30 miles from work, and it'll still only cost me a buck!". When energy is expensive, we see more urban infill, smaller homes, higher density, more public transit and cycling. So, if 100 mpg because the standard for all automobiles, we can just expect people to be living further on the urban fringe, and burning the same amount of petroleum as before.

That does not mean that the personal goal to use energy as efficiently as possible is not a noble one, it just means that on a larger scale, as a society, we will burn what's cheap.
Are you talking about world petro consumption or U.S. petro consumption? If it's U.S. we've pretty much been the same since the late seventies even though we've added about a hundred million people. We're at about +/-18mbpd currently, so even with more people and bigger vehicles efficiency improvements have kept total consumption flat and dropped per capita consumption by a third. The world picture is different because a lot of countries are industrializing, but even then world oil production right now appears to be where is was in the late seventies in the U.S. People also won't drive a whole lot more than they will now in the U.S. VMT has been dropping.
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