Prepping for Survival in a Van: Peak Oil

This is the second in a series on Survivalism and Prepping for a vandweller. The first question I have to address is “What are you Prepping for?” The simple answer is I am prepping for continuing and increasing high oil prices (and the economic problems that will go along with them) as a result of Peak Oil. Let me warn you this is a very complex subject and I am barely covering the surface of it here. There is much more I can’t include because you would all fall asleep!

What Is, and Is Not, Peak Oil?

All of my ideas of Peak Oil began with the book “The Long Emergency” by James Howard Kunstler. But since reading that book I have devoured everything I can about the subject. It just so happens that last month there was an outstanding article published about it in The Guardian, a large UK newspaper. It was so well written that I’m including a number of quotes from it in this post (I’ve added the emphasis in each quote). What makes it even more powerful is that it’s about a speech and paper given by a former British Petroleum geologist who warned that the age of cheap oil is long gone, bringing with it the danger of “continuous recession” and increased risk of conflict and hunger. Dr. Richard G. Miller worked for BP from 1985 until he retired in 2008 and was the geologist who prepared annual in-house projections of future oil supply for BP from 2000 to 2007. So he is a highly respected oil-industry insider and not some wacko with crazy ideas. BP trusted him to predict future oil supplies, that make him worth listening to!! The article is titled: “Former BP geologist: peak oil is here and it will ‘break economies’.” You can find the whole article here:  http://www.theguardian.com/environment/earth-insight/2013/dec/23/british-petroleum-geologist-peak-oil-break-economy-recession  
You can buy the book from Amazon here: The Long Emergency: Surviving the End of Oil, Climate Change, and Other Converging Catastrophes of the Twenty-First Cent

The idea behind Peak Oil is very simple: there is a limited supply of oil stored in the ground and for any given geologic area there is a time when oil production from its fields will peak and from then on it will decrease. Let’s look at the United States as an example of that. The graph below is the historic record of oil production in the United States: it has a very obvious peak! As demand for oil increased through the 20th century our production of it increased to meet that demand. But then something very odd happens in 1970, oil production peaks and then goes into a steady decline. It has never returned to the level of 1970 even though our demand for oil has steadily increased. It’s very obvious that Peak Oil happened in the United States in 1970. There is no question that the same thing is inevitable in every country in the world. Quite simply, there is no doubt that there is a limited amount of oil in the ground and at some point we will have extracted all the cheap, easy to get to oil, leaving less oil and the harder to get out oil.

in this chart you can see an obvious rise, peak and decline in total United States oil production. This is going to occur everywhere in the world eventually.  Thinking otherwise is just wishful thinking.

In this chart you can see an obvious rise, peak and decline in total United States oil production. This is going to occur everywhere in the world eventually. Thinking otherwise is just wishful thinking.

So the first thing everyone says is that, “We will just keep finding more oil and so there won’t be any real problems. There is lots of shale oil and oil in the tar sands” That is wishful thinking! Look at what happened in the US. After we hit Peak Oil in 1970 we found this huge amount of oil in Alaska, we found lots of oil off the coast (and started doing off-shore drilling to extract it) and now we are fracking for oil. And yet we are still producing much less now than we did in 1970. What that means is that the rate of decline is greater than the rate of discovery. That pattern WILL be reproduced everywhere in the world eventually. The BP geologist says

“We need new production equal to a new Saudi Arabia every 3 to 4 years to maintain and grow supply… New discoveries have not matched consumption since 1986. We are drawing down on our reserves….

Many oil experts believe the world has reached Peak Oil in the last few years and that the exact same graph we see in the US will be played out on a global scale with the Peak having occurred around 2010. And the fact that oil prices have gone up so much and haven’t come down, and the world is in a global recession that will not end, certainly backs up that idea. That is exactly what you would expect to see when the world reaches Peak Oil. BP geologist Dr. Miller said:

“The oil price has risen almost continuously since 2004 to date, starting at $30… it has since climbed to $110 and held there. The price rise brought a lot of new exploration and development, but these new fields have not actually increased production by very much, due to the decline of older fields. This is compatible with the idea that we are pretty much at peak today. This recession is what peak feels like.”

That is just what happened in the United States in 1970. We fell into a recession we couldn’t shake, oil prices shot up and we had shortages. At that time Saudi Arabia stepped in and greatly increased production making up for what we were lacking and that solved the shortages, brought the prices back down and eventually the recession ended.

Notice that has not happened today!! Why not? Why doesn’t Saudi Arabia (and all of the OPEC nations) step in and increase production thus decreasing prices and pulling the world out of a global recession. You may be thinking “Why would they, look at how much money they are making with these high prices? Because they are smart people and they know that if they drive the global economy into a deep and long lasting recession no one will be buying any oil. They need healthy economies to have customers to sell their oil to, and they know it. In fact, they have promised to increase production and save our economies several times, and they have not done it. Why? Because Saudi Arabia and the other OPEC nations are already at Peak Oil, and they physically can not increase oil production even though they want to and need to!! BP geologist Dr. Miller states:

“Crude oil production is heavily concentrated in a small number of countries and a small number of giant fields, with approximately 100 fields producing one half of global supply, 25 producing one quarter and a single field (Ghawar in Saudi Arabia) producing approximately 7%. Most of these giant fields are relatively old, many are well past their peak of production, most of the rest seem likely to enter decline within the next decade or so and few new giant fields are expected to be found.”

Did you catch that? Let me repeat it: 82% of the world’s oil comes from 126 giant fields. And 32% of the world’s oil is produced by just 26 fields. As those fields decline (and they all either are declining now or will be soon) we will NOT find enough new oil to replace them. So all the oil we gain by fracking or from tar sands is a tiny drop in the global supply and means nothing.

Let me make it clear that no one is saying we are going to run out of oil anytime soon, because we aren’t, there is still plenty of oil in the ground. What is very clear though is that we have already reached, or very soon will reach the point where total global production starts to decline. In a Capitalist world like ours, when supply decreases and demand increases prices must go up! And they will continue to go up as long as supply is limited.

Energy Return On Energy Investment (EROEI)

There is another reason prices must continue to go up and we will remain in a continuous recession and that is because of a scientific formula know as Energy Return On Energy Investment (EROEI). It is formula that calculates how much energy you must invest to get a certain amount of energy back. Probably it’s oldest uses was by hunters who had to decide if pursuing an animal was worth the calories they would burn. So if you had to chase ten rabbits with a rock in your hand and only killed one in ten you quickly realized you were investing a lot of calories of energy chasing the rabbits and not getting many calories back. Maybe you burned 10,000 calories, and only got back 1000 from that one rabbit. Keep doing that and you will be a dead hunter! For more info on EROEI, go to this page:    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_returned_on_energy_invested

With oil there is a formula that says you invest a certain number of barrel of oils to get the oil out of the ground and you get a certain number of barrels for that investment. In 1900 when we first started industrial use of, oil, it literally was lying on the surface of the ground and you could scoop it up with a bucket!. The EROEI was 100 to 1; for every barrel you burned, you got 100 barrels of oil. In 1970 the EROEI in the US was 30, in 2005 it was 14.5 and today it is 11 and declining. That means we burn 1 barrel of oil to get 11 barrels of oil out of the ground. As the EROEI decreases (a smaller number) the price of oil MUST go up. Logically, as the number gets smaller (it gets closer to 1-1) we will simply stop exploring and drilling for oil and leave it in the ground. If you burn one barrel of oil to get one out of the ground, nobody will do it!!

The bottom line is we have already got all the cheap, easy oil out of the ground and now we are going after the hard to get and expensive oil. And the environmental damage we are doing to get that oil out of the ground will also dramatically increase. Here is a table from the Wikipedia page of the EROEI of various different energy forms. I’ve highlighted some you should notice.

This table shows both the Return On Energy Investment on various sources, both present and historical.

This table shows the Energy Return On Energy Investment on various sources, both present and historical. I’ve highlighted some of the trends. You’ll notice the numbers all get smaller. When they reach 1 to 1, we will stop extracting oil.

So What? Why Should I Care About Peak Oil?

Economies are just like sharks, they must be moving forward or they will die. Every economy in the world depends on growth to survive. When an economy stops growing it can survive stagnation for a little while, but not for long. But a growing economy requires an abundance of cheap oil to run its machinery. That’s why we had such a huge economic boom in the late 80s and 90s, we were swimming in cheap oil! But as world production slowed and prices surged our economies slowed down. With the added burden of the housing collapse in 2008 and the recession that came with it the world was thrown into a global recession that we can’t shake.

At the end of the post I have a chart of the price of oil for the years 1983-2000. If you were alive and remember those days, the price of oil closely reflects the US economy. In the early 80s we had terrible inflation and recession when the price of oil was almost $30 a barrel. But in the 1990s we had boom years when the economy was amazingly strong and wonderful. During those years the price of oil was less than half that much. In 1998 at the peak of the “Clinton” economy, the price of oil was $11 a barrel!!!! We all give President Clinton the credit for that economy when in fact it was due entirely to the price of oil, and no President has any real control over the price of oil . Oil was so cheap then because the huge fields in the North Sea were fully on line and Alaska’s North Slope was still fairly strong at the same time. Both of them are in steady decline now.

This is a graph of the oil production from the giant North Sea oil field. Again we can see a very clear rise, Peak and decline of this field. Every field in the world id going to have this happen to it. Even worse, we have already found all the ginat fields and the small ones we do find can NOT replace the decline from these giant fields.

This is a graph of the oil production from the giant North Sea oil field. Again we can see a very clear rise, Peak and decline of this field. Every field in the world is going to have this happen to it. Even worse, we have already found all the giant fields and the small ones we do find can NOT replace the decline from these giant fields.

While we are nowhere near running out of oil, the global production of oil will decrease year-after-year—just like what happened in the US in 1970. That inevitably leads to shortages, again, just like we had in 1970. But this time no one in the world will be able to increase production to pull us out of those shortages. They will just keep getting worse. The price of oil must continue to increase with that decline in production—the laws of supply and demand require it. But as the supply decreases, growing economies will demand more, and if they can’t get it they will stop growing. That will lead to continuous recession. BP Geologist DR. Miller makes this prediction for our future:

“In the US, high oil prices correlate with recessions … the economy declines as money is sucked into buying fuel instead of other goods and services… A shortage of oil will affect everything in the economy. I expect more famine, more drought, more resource wars and a steady inflation in the energy cost of all commodities.

Here is what I see the world looking like for the near future and it is what I am preparing for:

  • Continuous, ongoing recession.
  • Continuing high unemployment.
  • Gas prices will keep going up.
  • Increasing inflation.
  • No real growth in the economy.
  • Inflation in the price of food.

That’s the way things have been for the last 5 years and does anyone see any reason that it should change for the better? Unfortunately, that is the good news. Civilization can’t go on for very long like that. After the fall of the Roman Empire the world quietly slipped into the Dark Ages, but today we have perfected the art of death and destruction and I don’t think there is  going to be any going gently into that long good night—there is going to be a lot of raging against it!! In my lifetime, or certainly in the lives of my children, I expect to see:

  • Serious wars over oil and water. Maybe even World Wars.
  • Massive and global recurrences of the Great Depressions
  • Dustbowls just like the 1930s.
  • Mass starvation.
  • Economic collapse.
  • Government collapse.

I believe in a hundred years civilization will have collapsed and the man with a plow horse will literally be king.

Here is a chart of the production of oil in the giant North Slop oil fields. There is an obvious rise, Peak, and decline. Alaska is an oil state and it's well-being is strongly tied to oil. As a long time Alaskan, it has been a topic I have studied for a very long time.

Here is a chart of the production of oil in the Alaska North Slop oil fields. There is an obvious rise, Peak, and decline. Alaska is an oil state and it’s well-being is strongly tied to oil. As a long time Alaskan, it’s been a topic I’ve studied for a very long time.

This is a table of the price of oil in the past. If you are familiar with past US recessions, you can see there is a correlation between the price of oil and the health of the US economy.

This is a table of the price of oil in the past. If you are familiar with past US recessions, you can see there is a correlation between the price of oil and the health of the US economy.

Bob
About

I’ve been a full-time VanDweller for 12 years and I love it. I hope to never live in a house again!

46 comments on “Prepping for Survival in a Van: Peak Oil
  1. Rob says:

    While reading some of your predictions I thought of a term an older gentleman on the homestead list used to use, “retroactive birth control”. It was a term he used when the talk turned to technology not being about to keep up or necessary resources running out.
    Rob recently posted…HamburgersMy Profile

  2. CAE says:

    It sure does seem like the oil that is cheap and easy to get at is now long gone. We may not run out, buy extraction will only get more difficult and hence more expensive. Drilling 5000 feet below the ocean floor is not cheap nor easy.

    • Bob Bob says:

      I agree 100%. In the short term the problems are going to be economic, just a long intense recession as oil prices rise. That’s why the name of the book is the “Long Emergency”. Because things are just going to slowly and steadily get worse until it finally totally hits the fan. But no telling how long it will take to get there.

      What I didn’t cover is the equally terrible disaster waiting for us with Global Climate Change. It’s actually much worse than peak Oil but people have stuck their head in the and about it and just won’t listen. As oil gets more expensive we are going to do worse and worse things to get it and that will just speed up our destruction from the environment.

      All the carbon in the air is literally killing the oceans and so what do we do? We dump millions of barrels of oil in it from our deep oil wells. We’re idiots and we deserve what we are going to get.
      Bob

  3. Greg says:

    Bob, I’ve been reading up on Peak Oil and Economic Collapse for awhile. The best strategy for preparing would be to have an intentional community somewhere in a moderate climate where you can grow food most of the year, raise animals, and have firewood available for heat and cooking. Also you have to be far enough away from major roads. The masses of people fleeing cities will be pillaging everything in their path. It’s a frightful future and no one knows when TEOTWAWKI will begin. Maybe not in our lifetime but what if it does!

    • Bob Bob says:

      Greg, no doubt homesteading in some way is the only real long-term hope. Like I said, in 100 years the man with a plow horse and knows how to grow crops will be king. Community is also an essential part of the our-term survival.

      But I’m not willing to sacrifice my happiness for a longer life and homesteading doesn’t make me happy. Only vandwelling makes me happy. So I’ll die early, I’m willing to make that trade.
      Bob

  4. jonthebru says:

    I approve of this message. And I don’t consider it political, its much to important. The issues are complex and many are ill informed regarding the nuts and bolts of the situation. Imagine Jed Clampett “shootin at a bear and up from the ground came bubblin’ crude…”. Then think of the effort to drag smaller amounts from wells dangling beneath floating oil platforms in the oceans of the World. The profits are less so the scale must be larger for the oil conglomerates. The biggest irony is that the Earth’s atmosphere was toxic eons of time ago and through very slow natural processes the poisons were sequestered beneath the ground, only to be drawn out in a very short time span by our culture and once again spewed into the atmosphere. Solar, solar, solar, the three elements of success! Add LFTR (liquid fluoride thorium reactor) nuclear power plants and you could have a winning strategy for many years into the future. Make it so!

    • Bob Bob says:

      It is a very, very complex subject. I don’t see any solutions that are palatable to us as a people. So we will just stick our head in the sand and wait till we suffocate.
      Bob

  5. Stephen says:

    Hi Bob,

    Sorry for the long comment. It just seemed to type itself…

    I think you’ve correctly diagnosed the problem–infinite growth in consumption and pollution cannot be sustained on a finite planet. Isn’t it amazing that we’re so brainwashed by the doctrine of unlimited “growth” and consumption that it’s considered “extreme” to mention that fact?

    It seems inevitable that our current oil-based economy will suffer a catastrophic collapse and/or evolve into something else. Given human avarice and the current power structures, it’s difficult to imagine evolution into something else, without collapse and a terrible amount of suffering and death.

    The one quibble I have with your analysis is your statement that the economy, like a shark, must continue “moving forward” or die. I do agree that is an assumption we’ve been conditioned to believe. And it benefits those who demand the right to get richer and richer, regardless of the cost to everyone else and the environment.

    Many others throughout history, however, have advocated and predicted the eventual emergence of what is sometimes called a “steady state” economy. This would be an economy, in which human ambitions shift from material acquisition and accumulation–i.e., material “growth”–to spiritual pursuits, mutual aid, and concern for all, including non-human animals, plants and the environment.

    The potential for this is seen in the growing number of people who are voluntarily rejecting the growth model and living a lifestyle of simplicity, including vandwelling.

    While I generally agree with your analysis and certainly want to survive as long as possible, I also recognize the cold reality that we’re all going to die a physical death, no matter what.

    So, making our lives primarily about physical “survival” is a literally a “dead end.” That’s why I love so much your posts about spirituality and want to contribute to whatever the world may be after my physical death.

    Keep up your good work,

    Stephen
    Stephen recently posted…Perfectly ImperfectMy Profile

    • Bob Bob says:

      Stepehn, I agree 100% with everything you said! When I said our economies are like sharks that must move forward, I meant that they are based on capitalism, and all capitalist economies must grow or die, that’s the nature of capitalism. There are economies that aren’t based on capitaism that do not grow, but none of them have proved viable and none of them are palatable to us generally.

      So in the world we live in, economies must grow or they will die. No doubt part of the upheaval that is going to come those governments and economies will be overthrown, but I doubt that we will make rational decisions about what comes next.
      Bob

  6. Linda Sand says:

    So Arizona is not going to be a good place to move to because of the water wars? Hmmm. I may have to make a new plan.

    • Bob Bob says:

      Good point Linda, but…. I’m 3 miles from the Colorado river which is always going to provide year-around water. Plus, much of AZ has such strong monsoons that you can do water storage to get through the year.

      There are options.
      Bob

      • Calvin R says:

        Bob,the Colorado runs out of water before it reaches its mouth. The monsoons are not as predictable as they once were either. I was in Phoenix in 2006 and they had a big inversion due to the lack of a monsoon that year.

        • Bob Bob says:

          Calvin, the Colorado runs out of water in Mexico. We have agreements with Mexico that a certain amount gets to them. It won’t run out in the US. For now it is highly regulated on it’s entire length and there is zero danger of it running dry. They’ll just keep dropping the many lakes upstream of it and start restricting the water being taken out of it.

          In the long run, it is going to turn into a disaster. The population growth in the area it provides water to is going to greatly increase and there isn’t going to be more water and probably less. But that is still a ways down the road.

          Water is going to become a HUGE problem. But amongst all the other horrible problems we face, this one pales.
          Bob

  7. realspur62 says:

    I looked up “oil reserves” in Wikipedia. Which countries have the most, etc..If one is 60 years old, then the approximate life expectancy is another 30 years. The evidence simply does NOT support wars taking place due to petroleum shortages in that time frame. The U.S.A. could grow enough crops to support its own biodiesel. Right now its cheaper to drill for petroleum. And then there is solar electric. And other sources are in development. Like Hydrogen. So, IMHO the call for 7 billion people to move out of cities to the country and burn wood for fuel is rather premature! And unnecessarily alarmist.

    • Bob Bob says:

      All the facts and information I’ve read say just the opposite. The BP geoligist I quoted also believes the opposite. Here are two quotes from him about reserves:

      Dr. Miller critiqued the official industry line that global reserves will last 53 years at current rates of consumption, pointing out that “peaking is the result of declining production rates, not declining reserves.

      New discoveries have not matched consumption since 1986. We are drawing down on our reserves, even though reserves are apparently climbing every year. Reserves are growing due to better technology in old fields, raising the amount we can recover – but production is still falling at 4.1% p.a. [per annum].”

      Reserves are just a meaningless number, but declining oil production is real life and will lead to drastic price increases and shortages. We are fighting wars over oil NOW! As demand continues to grow and production declines, more wars over oil are just that more likely.
      Bob

  8. Openspaceman says:

    Bob_

    Thanks for explaining the EROEI…I was to young to remember waiting in line for gas in the ’70’s and you never miss things until they’re gone. I do realize that most wars are about securing oil reserves and that we “The U.S.” use a lot more per person than anywhere else.

    I’m no conspiracy theorist…but maybe the next time some guy invents an engine that runs on something besides fossil fuel…”Big Oil” will think twice before killing him.

    *All kidding aside…I hope. Very well thought out/researched post. I appreciate it.

  9. Bill from NC says:

    I too agree with a lot of this post. Would like to add Bob if I am correct that there are basically two types of crude, light sweet crude(most of this is gone now) it is almost clear or yellowish. We knew this as lamp oil when we were growing up. This stuff could be used in a lamp without refining. Saw this being pumped out in the oil patch at Corpus Christi Texas. Thats why ya here about that sweet crude of Texas! Most of the oil is a very high sulfur tarry mess that we really dont have refineries that refine this stuff. It releases to much pollution for our EPA so we sell it to other nations to refine and we buy the finished product back from them Hey pollution is polution whether here or there it allways spreads out everywhere right? Thanks Bob for a fantastic post! Germany revolted because inflation had them starving to death, result…….Hitler…..
    Bill from NC recently posted…Adventure ahead, Hillbilly territory…The Appalachian MountainsMy Profile

    • Bob Bob says:

      That’s a very good point Bill! I just couldn’t cover everything but the quality of the oil we are getting out of the ground is a huge part of the puzzle as well. The good stuff is all in steep decline so we are going to extracting the poor quality oil more and more. It costs more to drill for it, costs more to refine and then pollutes a great deal more.

      The TOTAL oil picture is much worse than I could present in a short post!

      I agree totally, just like in Germany the American middle class is not going to tolerate economic misery for long and we will turn to ANYTHING that promises us relief, even a Hitler.

      But what is really scary to me is the growing middle class in China. What horrible things are the Chinese government willing to do keep them happy and from revolting? The mind boggles!
      Bob

  10. Sunday says:

    What is the chance of another Bill Gates or Steve Jobs type coming to the rescue by developing/finding a new energy source other than oil or developing technology that allows a machine to operate using 1/100,000th the required energy currently used? No one could have imagined the computer or the internet before they were developed. I think being prepared is prudent, but there are great minds in this world and all that can be learned has not yet been learned in my humble opinion.

  11. Dan says:

    Very interesting topic. Van Dwelling is not a complete solution. When society no longer provides food, fuel & lubricating oil, or defense, you’re going to need to garden-able land and tools, you’ll need to beg steal or borrow lubricating oil for bearings, and come up with an engine or motor that either uses a fuel you can obtain, or find some Clydesdales, a hitch and some rope, and you’ll need gun[s] and bullets for protection. With no industry to produce refrigerants, there won’t be refrigerators or grocery stores, so the old methods for preserving food will come back. Everything will be seasonable, because we each will be farmers, and we will eat what the season will provide, or what we’ve preserved in our root cellars and basements. If one has some ball bearings, one will be rich. Roads won’t be smooth. Potholes will rule the day. At some point the roads will return to soil, and perhaps there will be a resurgence of the horse, buggy and bicycle as primary transportation methods.

    One will need a defensible location, and if your location is not in someplace that is warm year around, you’ll need a woodburning stove and matches and trees, etc. Also, what about medical care? What about money? Use gold? How will it be defended or stored? Lotsa problems to overcome. Returning to older sustainable ways seems like the logical solution for most everything, except for medical care for difficult diseases. These issues are just the tip of the iceberg. What about water and water purification?

    It’s a very interesting subject, but no easy answers can be found for survival of the numbers of people that currently live. I suspect the numbers of humans that can be sustained on the planet will wither going forward as our ability to provide the modern niceties such as food, electricity, fuel, health care, clothes…..

    Very interesting topic indeed. It makes one wonder what life will look like in 500 years for those who are alive at that time.

    If you really take the topic seriously, it’s enough to get one excited. We should take it seriously. Some of us do take it seriously, but our actions aren’t matching the needs.

    Have you read the book, “a reasonable life”? The authors discuss this topic from a prospective of how to live one’s life. I guess the electronic tablet won’t work when there isn’t any internet anymore. We’ll have to go back to paper books. What about paper? papyrus?

    Probably could make for a very interesting movie. probably won’t be able to sell any computer products in the movie though. Going back to stone tablets?

    Only thing that is certain is that life won’t be like it is today. That is certain with our lack of sustainability and the lack of wisdom of the human race.

    The idiots we sent to Washington DC are very busy, and don’t have time to solve our sustainability problems. They’re too busy using our tax dollars to create problems to have time to produce solutions.

    • Bob Bob says:

      Dan I agree 100%! I’m going to answer your points in my next post, but basically, I’m not willing to do any of those things you are describing. I expect a mass die off and I am willing to be part of it.

      I’m 58 and happy with my life. I’m going to make reasonable preparations, live as well as I can for as long as I can, and then I’m going to die with all the other millions (billions?) of people.

      I’m good with that!
      Bob

  12. Diane says:

    Wow,
    Thanks for breaking this very complex subject into bite size, digestible chunks of understanding. Knowledge is powerful. I was recently talking with a friend about how many young adults (30 and under) do not possess the basic skills that most folks the generations above them do. Simple things like changing a tire, operating a vehicle with manual transmission, simple household repairs, how to grow a garden etc. (Certainly not all, but many). This post seems to speak to this, it is time to get back to basics, self sufficiency. Thanks again Bob

    • Back to basics means freedom! Non-dependency!

      • Bob Bob says:

        Wiser words have never been spoken Martin!!

        Civilization has been a constant march toward more specilization. I don’t believe much in conspiracies, but I think this has been in the mind of the ruling class from the beginning. The less skill you have the more dependent you are on others and money. When you can’t live without them, and the government controls the money, you MUST toe the line.

        Back to basics is freedom!!!
        Bob

    • Bob Bob says:

      Very good points Diane! I’m afraid I am one of them. I can do more than most young people today but not enough to live on my own. But I am trying to get some training in back to basics. More about that in future posts.
      Bob

  13. Bill from NC says:

    Hey Bob I was watching CNBC tonite and thanks to your post about Peak Oil and Big Oil I could understand what they were talking around and hinting at!!! You are spot on! The big boys in politics and business actually agree with you that its a problem and they cant talk directly about it because they dont have a answer! What they are also inferring is that the ec ok nomy tanking is all about Peak Oil etc. it was amazing to watch the TV and see your theory exhibited! Way to hit it Bob!
    Bill from NC recently posted…Sapphire…. 385# Sapphire found in Franklin NC!!!!!My Profile

    • Bob Bob says:

      Bill, glad to help and provide some clarification. It’s amazing how universal the misinformation is about the oil industry. We are so busy hating them that we just believe any nonsense that gets thrown around about it.

      It’s a complex issue and really understanding it takes time and work, most people won’t do that. I think it’s important enough that I did. Now I’m just trying to share what I’ve learned and the conclusions I’ve reached.
      Bob

  14. Joe S says:

    I think that your “micro” situation is more important than the “macro” situation. What I mean is you should concentrate on your own finances/career etc and not worry so much about the big picture (stock market/commodity scarcity).

    I’m not saying keep your head in the sand, more so that you shouldn’t worry too much about things you can’t control, worry about the things you can control.

    Look at it this way: if you are already a full time van dweller you have much of the gear and experience it takes to live off the grid for extended periods of time. This is much more than most people can say. You’ve already done quite a bit to prepare.

    Hopefully things don’t fall apart anytime soon. I still enjoy traveling out west and haven’t had my chance to be a full timer!

    • Openspaceman says:

      Joe S_

      It can be way overwhelming to think about all these giant complexed problems and your response to this post ( work on things you can control ) helped me re-focus and tighten up my finances as I was getting a little lazy…starting to use the grocery store as my personal refrigerator and buying to expensive prepared foods…adds up pretty quick. I’ve been fulltiming for about 4 months and working fulltime in a city…I really need to work on income replacement if I ever want to travel for an extended period of time. Thanks.

    • Bob Bob says:

      Joe, I agree and I spend very little time thinking about the world situation. In fact long ago I gave up following the news or listening to talk radio. That just got me riled up and accomplished nothing. No newspapers or national news on the radio or TV for me!

      However, I’ve done a lot of research on the horrendous environmental damage we are doing to the Earth and the impact Peak Oil is going to have and I think it is totally reasonable to take that into account as I make daily decisions.

      Every time I spend $80 on gas to fill the van I ask myself if there isn’t something I can do to spend less and at the same time pollute less. I think that is pretty “micro” thinking!! And I can’t forget what I know about Peak Oil or pretend I don’t know. The price of gas is just going to keep going up and it could easily be $160 to fill my tank. What will I do when that happens?

      I’m going to wish I had an electric bike or a motorcycle!! So I made a decision on the macro that will also greatly help the micro. There is no conflict between the two, they should work together to make my life much better. I think they have!
      Bob

  15. Scrap Wood says:

    Nice post Bob. If you want some real eye opening info read some of the Archdruid stuff on Peak oil and how most people just want to stick their head in the ground. See because we need to make changes in our lives because the future is not going to be bright. It will be a slow collaspe and technology is not going to save us. The changes that neede to be made should of happened in the 70’s. But along came Ronald Reagen and it was a new morning in america. For the elite maybe but for little people’s grandchildren and on we have screwed their future with this new morning.

    The majority of people think this vaporware will allow us to continue on with our wasteful lives because they think things will always be the same

    John Michael Greer The Archdruid has many books out and a Blog that I think you would find very interesting and helpful in the Long Descent. Check him out.

    • Bob Bob says:

      Scrap Wood, thanks for that suggestion, he looks like someone I want to follow.

      Oddly enough, the only President who actually recognized the problem and tried to do something about it was Jimmy Carter. And his Presidency was considered a failure because of it. I think history will tell us differently. If there is a history!!
      Bob

  16. jim says:

    Are the good times really over for good

  17. Paul says:

    As always great article Bob. From what I have heard from some oil people after 4 to 5 years the new fracking wells become known as “hags”. Pumping only around 15 barrels a day. Any new found oil costs the oil companies close to 90.00 a barrel to get it out of the ground for ocean drilling and etc. While still it only costs Saudi Arabia about 7.00 a barrel to get theirs. Paul

  18. Scrap Wood says:

    Bob here the web address for the archdruid. Be forewarned he is very prolific but a good read and has really important things to discuss His most recent posting is excellent and the comments are as good as here

    http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.com/

  19. campervan_man says:

    While I do believe that eventually we will reach Peak Oil, I firmly believe that what we are experiencing is Peek GREED…

    When Clinton threatened an oil embargo, suddenly the prices fell, same thing with Nixon ending the ’70’s fiasco. In short they’re greedy, and they’ll milk us for every dime they can get out of us until we push back.

    Mankind survived just fine before oil, and certainly with today’s advanced technology we can survive without it again if need be, and OPEC and Big Oil needs to be reminded of that.

    The oceans can and should be harnessed to produce all of the electricity needed to power everything in the world into the far distant future.

    I think that Big Oil has worked hard to squelch the advancement of cheaper and more efficient energy technologies for many years now.

  20. Dave says:

    Hi Bob,
    Love your blog! I lived in my RV for almost 2 years deceased German Shepherd, it was a great lifestyle but sometimes lonely. Then I met a gal and have been living almost 5 years with her. Although I love her I have never been able to shake of my spirit of restlessness and adventure. I see it as so boring staying in the same job house year after year sitting in the same coffee shop talking about the same boring trivial subjects. Part of me feels dead inside and find it hard to relate to others. Always looking for free spirited people to connect! Also I see such a selfishness in our society everyone out for themselves, I think its so gross! I’m thinking of taking an RV solar panel installation course in Oregon what do think?
    Anyway, keep up the good work!
    Dave

  21. Dave M says:

    Hi Bob,Love your blog! I lived in my RV for almost 2 years deceased German Shepherd, it was a great lifestyle but sometimes lonely. Then I met a gal and have been living almost 5 years with her. Although I love her I have never been able to shake of my spirit of restlessness and adventure. I see it as so boring staying in the same job house year after year sitting in the same coffee shop talking about the same boring trivial subjects. Part of me feels dead inside and find it hard to relate to others. Always looking for free spirited people to connect! Also I see such a selfishness in our society everyone out for themselves, I think its so gross! I’m thinking of taking an RV solar panel installation course in Oregon what do think?Anyway, keep up the good work!Dave

    • Bob Bob says:

      Dave, I can relate, I lived in a van for 6 years and then remarried and moved into a house. I hated every minute of it! I don’t know what you should do, but being married wasn’t what it cost me, so we separated and later divorced as good friends. She knew I couldn’t be happy any other way.

      I think being able to install solar would be a great skill to have!
      Bob

  22. Dave M says:

    Hi Bob,
    Thanks so much for the reply! Great to hear from you. I was just talking to my folks and they want to move out of their condo into a trailer. They plan to spend 6 months in Canada and 6 months in Arizona. Actually they have spent the last 3 winters there (Arizona),in a RV and they love it! Did you start full timing before you retired? An adventurous life is so inspiring! I have lived in 6 countries and all over North America. I use to have lots of stories and tales but since “Settling”, I really have no recent tales! The town we live in is a bit dull. Lots of retired folks and young family. Nice town but so predictable. Anyhow, life is an adventure!
    Dave

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