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Few people were left unaffected by the soaring oil prices of summer 2008. Motorists were the hardest hit
 

Summary: Few people were left unaffected by the soaring oil
prices of summer 2008. Motorists were the hardest hit
as the price at the pumps reached an all time high, but
nobody could avoid paying more for their food as
higher transport costs were passed on from the retailer
to the consumer.
Sincethen,oilpriceshavefallensubstantially,thanks
in part to a deep global recession that has suppressed
energy demand. However, there is no reason why the
cost of a barrel of oil will not rise again to fresh highs.
While producers continue to reassure us that we need
not worry about the future supply of oil, global pro-
duction could nevertheless peak before the middle of
this century, and if that happens, prices will rocket as
demand fails to keep pace with supply.
Ifwearetoavoidbeingatthemercyoffluctuatingoil
prices, then we must develop alternatives to petrol and
diesel engines. There is not a long list of realistic al-
ternatives, but two options are worthy of serious con-
sideration:rechargeablebatteriesandfuelcells,bothof

  

Source: Andelman, David - School of Physics and Astronomy, Tel Aviv University

 

Collections: Materials Science; Physics