Thursday, July 24, 2008

Oil on the brain, and pretty much everywhere else

I am all for efficient vehicles that use less or, better yet, no petroleum whatsoever. However, I'd like to remind all those self-righteous people who do not drive that they are still a part of the problem, even if they think the price of gas is neither their fault nor their problem.

Here's a partial list of items that are made from oil. If you buy any of these items, you are a part of the demand for oil...

ammonia, anesthetics, antihistamines, artificial limbs, artificial turf, antiseptics, aspirin, auto parts, awnings, balloons, ballpoint pens, bandages, beach umbrellas, boats, cameras, candles, car battery cases, carpets, caulking, combs, cortisones, cosmetics, crayons, credit cards, curtains, deodorants, detergents, dice, disposable diapers, dolls, dyes, eye glasses, electrical wiring insulation, faucet washers, fishing rods, fishing line, fishing lures, food preservatives, food packaging, garden hose, golf balls, glue, hair coloring, hair curlers, hand lotion, hearing aids, heart valves, ink, insect repellant, insecticides, linoleum, lipstick, milk jugs, nail polish, oil filters, panty hose, perfume, petroleum jelly, rubber cement, rubbing alcohol, shampoo, shaving cream, shoes, tennis racquets, toilet seats, toothpaste, trash bags, upholstery, vitamin capsules, water pipes, yarn...

Rubber and plastics are petroleum-based. So, if you're sipping from bottled water, wearing rubber-soled jogging shoes (and haven't jogged so much as your memory since you-can't-remember-when), you're competing for supply of oil, and as demand increases, so does price, and so does the search for more. If you are wearing a backpack with plastic and rubber trim while you ride a bike with an oiled chain and rubber tires and a plastic seat, you are still a part of the demand.

In short, we're all a part of the problem. We should all be making efforts towards solutions. The auto industry is an easy target, but the better solutions may not be as easy.

I don't mean to be facetious. Obviously, riding a bike is much better for the environment than driving in most situations. I am, however, trying to raise awareness of the insidiousness nature of oil - while we are distracted blaming one demand stream, we are not paying attention to so many more streams that are all a part of the total demand for this stuff.

1 comment:

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I also don't drive but I really enjoyed this article.