I was pumping gas into the tank of the P71 here in California and the nozzles are a little bit different.
They have this thing on the end that you have to push hard in toward the filler neck or no fuel is pumped. I understand that it is designed to capture any fuel vapors and also build up your upper body strength.
I remember some earlier designs that appeared on gas pumps all over. The first ones were large accordion affairs and I believe they had vacuum to pull vapors out of the tank as you filled it. They had a habit of not shutting off in time and sucking fuel in before the shutoff did its thing. That way you bought a bunch of fuel that went back into the big tank underground at the filling station.
As I looked at the current design I thought about how it is created to capture unburned hydrocarbons. That’s science talk for gasoline. Modern cars have been equipped with vapor recovery systems for quite a while.
So this is a place where they try to capture vapors that otherwise might just float into the air as you fill your tank. Pretty serious stuff, I guess. Kind of like all that strontium 90 that was released into the atmosphere over the decades of above ground nuclear testing.
But it looks like the rules will be changing and the Federal government will be having California taking them off. I guess that means everything is OK now.
So while the fuel is being pumped into the P71 I wonder what things will be like when we run out of oil. First you have to figure out when that will happen, I guess.
Running out of oil has been something that has been speculated on and predicted since, well, since we started finding uses for oil and natural gas. Some people think it could be ten years from now, or maybe by 2060, or maybe it can never happen.
Frankly, I haven’t got a clue.
But I do think about what life might be like without the petroleum that we get from under the ground. No more plastic bags blowing around in the breeze. No more nice motors. Not just because there would be no fuel to burn in them, but no lubricant either.
Things would be a bit tough to manufacture, too. Steel takes a lot of electricity to make and although you might think about wind power, hydro power, and nuclear power would be a source for the electricity, you would still need to lubricate the pumps and generators. You would need to cool and lubricate the machines that make all the pumps and generators. No more plastic cases.
And what would home life be like? Would we all switch to whale oil like our ancestors in the days before petroleum? I don’t think there would be enough whales to meet the needs of the world population that we have now. We would have to convert to sailing ships again.
Would our trains run on wood? Nah, not enough of that either.
Well our carbon footprints would be a lot smaller. It would be tougher to move goods around the country to all those big box stores. We might have to have more local manufacturing.
We could go back to horses and wagons, but there would be a big learning curve. Not many people know how to take car of animals on that scale, let alone know how to hitch up a horse to a wagon.
You still have to feed and care for those animals. We could all have our own chickens I suppose. There would be a lot more flies around with all those animals. Probably a lot less people, too.
Aw heck. We’ll never run out, right?