Our favorite graph, which demonstrates that almost all of our petroleum is used for transportation.
Benjamin J. Turon writes an op-ed in the Schenectady Daily Gazette and makes a very good point about how the Kunstlers and Peak Oil Survivalists "forget history and underestimate the technology available to sustain our technological civilization."
Turon points out that oil is used primarily for transport, whereas electricity powers everything else. While his argument is not without problems, (like the need for a lot more electricity generation from all kinds of sources) his main point is crucial- there are lots of alternatives to gasoline if you realize that the problem lies almost entirely with transport.
"First, much of technology is based on electricity, not oil! Computers, telecommunications, lights, industrial machinery, household appliances are electric; electricity can also cook our food and heat our homes. While the power grid needs to be expanded and modernized, North America has abundant energy resources -- including coal, nuclear, hydro, tidal, wind, solar and geothermal -- to keep us in electricity without depending on oil-run power plants."
"There is no substitute for oil [or liquid fuels] in transport" is a canard that is frequently uttered in the media by so-called experts. While true for airplanes, it is demonstratively false for transport on land and sea. Maritime transport is very fuel-efficient and could once again run on coal via steam engines or gas turbines. Ships could also utilize sails or kites to save fuel. Europe, with its excellent system of inland waterways, moves more than 40 percent of its freight by water. Perhaps there is a future for the New York State Barge Canal beyond recreational boating."
"Electric trolley buses and trucks can receive electricity directly from the grid by overhead wires. There are globally 353 cities with electric trolley bus systems, including Boston, Dayton, Seattle and San Francisco. Large cities could electrify major thoroughfares for use by streetcars, transit buses and delivery trucks. Eventually even the interstate highway system could be electrified, saving long-distant trucking."
Some excellent points in the ::Daily Gazette via ::Planetizen