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Limited Petroleum Reserves Is Nuclear Energy an Alternative The twentieth century has been the age of petroleum Oil in its various refined derivative forms such as gasoline kerosene and diesel fuel has a unique combination of many desirable and useful characteristics These include a current availability in abundance a currently high net energy recovery a high energy density ease of transportation and storage relative safety and great versatility in end use Oil is also useful as more than an energy source It is the basis for the manufacture of petrochemical products including plastics medicines paints and myriad other useful materials Finally the asphalt bottoms from refineries have converted millions of miles of muddy trails around the world into paved highways on which transport vehicles fueled by oil run In the past hundred years the Western world has become just about fully dependent on petroleum With over a hundred and thirty million cars driving on the roads in the last ten years the question of how much longer is the nonrenewable resource petroleum going to last Andrew Rowell says Technology advances and the maturity of existing oil fields have spurred oil companies to explore for oil and extract it from previously inaccessible areas both offshore and onshore In many cases such prospecting and production will have severe environmental impacts and social ethical and cultural consequences The Challenge is not just to halt such exploration and extraction but to halt oil consumption itself Petroleum has many degrees of use and is the most used nonrenewable resource The most used petroleum based product is gasoline Gasoline is a mixture volatile flammable liquid hydrocarbons derived from petroleum The invention of the self-starter for gasoline engines by Cadillac eventually proved the undoing of the early steam cars which required warming up Gasoline became the main use in automobiles because of its high energy of combustion and capacity to mix readily with air in a carburetor Kerosene is also
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