Feature: After Oil
After Oil — a Postcard from a Future With Less Oil
It is April 1 2025. I am in my 76th year and I am riding my bicycle down the M2 on my way to work. The federal treasurer Rocky Costalotus, has just announced that they will be raising the qualifying age for the aged pension. I just hope I make it to my birthday in May and qualify for the aged pension before they raise the age yet again. Though Mouse Howhard recently celebrated his 50th year in parliament everybody knows that Costalotus is the man running the country. He hardly ever leaves his nursing home now.
On the M2, cars, trucks, and buses share the one lane and bicycles use the rest. Cyclists are advocating for the cars and buses to be removed from the M2 altogether and put them back onto Epping Rd. The speed limit for buses is 50km/hr and cars and trucks 40km/hr, to reduce fuel consumption. Cyclists use the bus lane already; there are only 4 buses in the morning peak and four in the afternoon peak and only the occasional truck. The young blood and gun cyclists are faster than the motor traffic anyway, the rest just move over for the motor vehicles to pass then move back again. Most people cannot afford to use the buses anyway, unless you have a disability concession. The result is that almost all able to do so use a bicycle for transport. The last car I saw on the M2 was Jamie Packer's Limo and that was weeks ago.
Bicycle NSW has replaced the NRMA as the prime transport lobby group in NSW with over 4,000,000 members to the NRMAs 15,000 members.
I pass the only service station in northwestern Sydney on the way to the M2, petrol has gone down, and it's now below $60/L at $57.99 due to the record energy-crops harvest last year, which reduced the price of ethanol.
They are still talking about building the northwest rail link. Those living in the northwest sector, with no option but the motorcar for transport had to sell up their houses when fuel got expensive. House prices slumped by 70%. That was nearly 15 years ago now. Just after that my super crashed, everybody else's as well. When oil hit $US150/barrel in 2009 the stock market crashed reducing my super from over $800,000.00 to less than $200,000.00 and with oil doubling in price every few years the market has never recovered. My super went backwards so far that I now get bills for the management fees from my super fund. I don't pay them; let them take the fees out of my now nonexistent super.
Those who put in photovoltaic cells (PVs) before the energy crisis are laughing. Coal prices rose just as rapidly as oil did and our electricity prices rose right along with them. PVs have never been economically viable even now, but those who put them in have seen the price of electricity go up by a factor of 20 times in price.
It has now been compulsory for over five years to retrofit rainwater tanks to your house, minimum 10,000L per person. I put in a 50,000L tank in 2005, the charge for the water usage went up so much that by 2015 the system payed for itself with the savings.