Until the first steam locomotives were invented in the early 19th Century, man could travel as far as he could walk or as far as his horse would take him.  Life was dirty, smelly, difficult – and short. Life expectancy was short and human misery was assured. There was virtually no military and the only available weapons were the bow and arrow, swords, the single-shot Muscat rifle.

In the decades and centuries after 1900, after the discovery of oil, and the inventions of the automobile and the airplane, we now have a huge military of aircraft, ships, and artillery, an airline industry that can take us anywhere in the world consuming 225 million gallons of aviation fuels EVERY DAY to move almost 10 million passengers and other things EVERY DAY, a cruise line industry that takes us to all parts of the world consuming 30 to 50 gallons of fuel for EVERY MILE, a leisure industry of hotels, resorts, theme parks, and a transportation industry of rail, trucks and automobiles that can deliver products from around the world and take us to virtually any destination. We also have an electronic and aerospace industry that has everyone wired and wireless, and elaborate infrastructures to support the growing populations.

All of those infrastructures did not exist prior to the 1900’s and they could not exist without the chemicals and by-products manufactured from crude oil, but the primary economic reason refineries exist is to manufacture the fuels for our military, heating and transportation industries.  Interestingly, there are no economic reasons JUST to manufacture the other “stuff” of chemicals and by-products from crude oil that are the basis of virtually everything in our daily and leisurely lifestyles.

Today, these byproducts of fossil fuels often are forgotten when debating whether or not we should move to a future free of carbon-based energy. But those byproducts are real, and essential to our lives. Yet environmentalist extremists still want to eliminate the main source of their current production.

Surprise! Almost everything we use comes from oil, thus we need to look in the mirror for climate change.

Our leisurely lifestyles are based on transportation systems, sewage treatment, sanitation systems, water purification systems, irrigation, synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, genetically improved crops, agricultural productivity, dams, seawalls, heating, air conditioning, sturdy homes, drained swamps, central power stations, vaccinations, pharmaceuticals, medications, eradication of most diseases, improvements in manufacturing productivity, electronics, communication systems, and so on.

Other benefits from fossil fuel energy include the ever reduction in infant mortality and is the major contributor to the longest life expectancy in history all of which directly impacts our quality of life.

The electric vehicle (EV) crusade may have limitations to replace the internal combustion engines as current battery technology for EV’s is the lithium-ion battery which is dependent on cobalt for its energy density. Today, there is already a worldwide shortage of Cobalt.

The unintended consequence of too many EV’s from the crusade is that a reduction in the need for manufactured fuels may incentivize closures of refineries that are also manufacturing the other “stuff” for our lifestyles and may be inflationary on all those other crude oil products if that is the primary reason for those refineries to exist economically.

So, do we want to go back to pre-petroleum, horse-and-buggy days, without all of our modern “stuff? Well, that would solve the persistent problem of unfunded liabilities to pay Social Security and public-employee pensions as few would live past 30 years!

Seriously, we don’t want to roll back civilization. There are better ways to achieve a cleaner environment for ever-growing populations with an increasing numbers of vehicles. Such ways include continual improvements in the fuel efficiencies of internal combustion engines, EVs and hybrids.

And we need sensible legislation at all levels, such a Senate Bill 1074, by state Sen. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, titled Disclosure of Government Imposed Costs. It would require gas stations to post next to fuel pumps a list of all taxes and regulatory costs of every gallon pumped. It would give consumers more information so they could make better judgments on fuel efficiency, while knowing how to influence the policies of their own government.