With all the money they generate, you'd be forgiven if you thought the roads to America's oil wells and shale fields would be paved in platinum and lined in gold. The reality is, though, that these roads are so devastated that they're starting to actively hurt the oil industry.
Okay, okay, okay – it's not as bad as that headline says it is. First of all, even if we did only have 53.3 years of oil left, it'd represent a 1.1-percent improvement over last year's estimate, to 1.69 trillion barrels of oil left. But more importantly, we probably have a hell of a lot more oil left than that. Of course, a lot of it comes from shale, which means fracking, which isn't exactly great for the environment. So, it's not all roses here.
Big Oil has a lot more to worry about than fighting the biofuels industry over the Renewable Fuel Standard. Fourth quarter 2013 earning reports show that major oil companies haven't been as profitable lately as they used to be.
At least one author is warning consumers not to be fooled by relatively steady gas prices and prognostications of plentiful petroleum. Richard Heinberg, in his book Snake Oil: How Fracking's False Promise of Plenty Imperils Our Future is warning people that any prediction that the world has staved off the prospect of diminishing returns on continued oil drilling is inaccurate, and that the recent increase in supply may merely accelerate the overall decline.
The fight to be the most popular fuel for commercial trucks wages on between the natural gas and clean diesel factions, with alt-player biodiesel joining forces with the Diesel Technology Forum team. The National Biodiesel Board joined up with the forum to improve diesel's reputation in Washington, and beyond, at a time when natural gas is gaining support.