Who Is Affected by Fossil Fuel Depletion?

Fossil fuel helps produce cheap energy. Modern industries depend heavily on energy supplied by fossil fuels. In fact they are the backbone of the auto, steel and transportation industries. However, these industries will face the repercussion of the rapid depletion of the energy reserves. The common man will also be affected by this shortage. In order to overcome the energy crisis caused by the depletion of fossil fuels, we need to be ready with alternatives. However, the current state of alternative energy scenario leaves much to be desired.

When fossil fuel shortage occurs, it affects the automotive industry. This industry completely depends on petroleum. In the recent fuel crisis, a fuel supply shortage transpired into high fuel prices. With high fuel prices, users reduced buying vehicles which consume more gasoline (trucks and SUVs). As it so happens, auto companies make more profit on bigger vehicles. So this situation meant lesser profits for auto companies, which resulted in job cuts in the auto industry. When fossil fuel depletion occurs, it is perceived that it would affect automotive industry even more negatively than what happened during a short term shortage.

The steel industry is directly affected by the fossil fuel shortage. Higher energy prices caused major problems for UK steel industry. Anglo-Dutch steel firm Corus cut 4,000 jobs, which was a sixth of its workforce and shut down two furnaces in Scunthorpe and Newport which was a direct result of higher energy prices. Higher energy prices adversely affect steel industry’s cost structure. As world fossil fuels reserves deplete, it is imperative that the steel industry move quickly towards a greener source of energy fast so it can stay competitive.

For the transportation industry (trucking industry in particular), oil is the primary source of energy. For countries like the US, where the internal transportation is primarily through the interstate system, higher energy prices means extra cost for transportation of goods across the country. This transpires into higher commodity costs, which affects the common man. For other countries where transportation industry means primarily the railway industry, the effect is less visible. This is because to produce the energy for the railways, fossil fuels are used. So, depletion of fossil fuels will have negative effects on the railway industry as well as the trucking industry.

Solar and wind power are gaining popularity. Sunshine and wind are free and eco-friendly. However, we need to invest more into these forms of energy in order for them to become economically viable. The use of hybrid vehicles is another step towards reducing the dependence on fossil fuels and moving towards a greener future.