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What Is Our Energy Future?

Editorial: The price of energy is high. Expect that the price of energy to go higher, at least within the foreseeable lifetime of most RVers. I am talking about energy in the form of fuel to move your RV, electrical power to light your RV, and LP gas to warm your RV.

Sometime in the next 50 or 75 years humankind will hopefully find an "inexhaustible" supply of energy, such as hydrogen fusion, but as of today we live in a time when energy supplies are being exhausted and the fear of such exhaustion is creating a fear frenzy and driving the price of energy into outer space. Fill even a 36 gallon fuel tank and check the cost -- looks like something out of the space program, doesn't it?

You can blame the rising prices on speculation or on Big Oil or on the Arabs, but the real blame rests on a concept of what a lifestyle should be like -- a concept that the USA has created by its huge success -- and the desire in other parts of the world to have the same benefits we have. Most people in the USA have an addiction for using energy whenever and wherever we want, and we are infecting most other nations around the world with that attitude. As a result, the worldwide demand for energy is rising more rapidly than any growth in the supply.

Today over 97% of the world's energy comes from hydrocarbons (oil, gas, and coal found in geological deposits created millions of years ago). There are many people working on ways to extract even more of those deposits, and there are people working to develop alternatives, but it takes a long time to bring such work to the point where it can supply enough power to meet the growing demand of the USA, Europe, China, India, and the rest of the developing countries. Believe me, you full-timers will not see it happen enough to make a difference in your life. RVers will live in a time of limited and high-priced energy supplies the rest of our lives.

If you too are a Prudent RVer, you will recognize that you need to adjust your lifestyle to the new paradigm of high energy prices, and even the possibility of limited energy supplies. You can wait, but if you do, the cost of adjustment will become higher and higher. And the effort required to change some of your consuming habits will be awesome.

Maybe you have heard of Peak Oil. It is real; only the timing is in question, but my bet is that it is either here now or will be within two years. To better understand what it all means, go look at the Peak Oil Primer. To see what the effects will be, take a look at the concise article from the Augusta Free Press entitled, "Peak Oil Will Change Our Lives."

So should you plan for this kind of energy future. I suggest a four step program:

Understand your energy budget: what are you using; what do you need.

Determine what consumption you can eliminate and how to do it.

Take action: change your usage, habits, and appliances.

Determine what you can do to promote a sustainable existance.