How long could Australia thrive if our oil supplies were cut?

Australia's Liquid Fuel Security

FUEL FOR THOUGHT: we are heavily dependent on imports of refined petroleum products and crude oil to meet our liquid fuel demand but Australia continues to adopt a “she’ll be right” approach to fuel security.

Australia is the world’s ninth-largest energy producer and there are many renewable and non-renewable energy resources in our country. Despite this, we are heavily dependent on imports of refined petroleum products and crude oil to meet our liquid fuel demand.

With such a spread-out population, Australia relies heavily on road transportation to move goods and services around. Our transport system is more than 95 per cent dependent on oil.

Did you know that if the oil stopped coming, goods and services could dry up in just over a week?

According to research carried out for our report, If Australia’s oil supply was cut:

  • dry goods could run out within nine days;
  • chilled and frozen goods could run out within seven days;
  • retail pharmacy supplies could run out within seven days;
  • hospital pharmacy supplies could run out within three days; and
  • fuel available to the public could run out within three days.

Australia needs to develop an alternative fuels industry – and only then, could we ween ourselves off our world oil dependency.

It doesn’t help that Sydney will have no refining capacity after 2014. The Clyde refinery closed last year and Kurnell will follow soon. If our supplies are cut off due to disruption to our shipping lanes, we would find ourselves in a crisis situation very quickly.

Australia continues to adopt a “she’ll be right” approach to fuel security, relying on global oil and fuel markets.

These markets have proven to be volatile with fluctuations of up to 60 cents per litre for unleaded fuel prices at the pump seen in the space of just six months. The reason for dramatic fluctuations can include conflict in the Middle East and natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina.

This report is another wake-up call for governments to get serious about developing an alternative fuels industry.

Are you concerned about Australia’s oil dependency? Would you like the Government to do more to develop our alternative fuel industry?

The NRMA’s Australia’s Liquid Fuel Security report can be downloaded at: http://www.mynrma.com.au/about/reports-and-submissions.htm.

9 thoughts on “How long could Australia thrive if our oil supplies were cut?

  1. The politicains are in the pocket of big business and all they’re interested in is short term profit not the long term interests of the country so nothing will be done.

  2. It amazes me that our federal govt. can sell LPGas to overseas countries so cheap and we pay a premium for it.A very large percentage of cars in Australia could be running on LPGas at a cheaper price.In reality I suppose the fuel companies have a large say in making us use petrol not gas,and the Govt wants the taxes from higher LPGas prices as they are driving the price towards parity with Unleaded petrol.I may be simple minded but it makes real sense to me to use more of the vast reserves of LPGas we are reported to have than to be importing our fuel thank you Thomas.

  3. CNG!!!
    Compressed Natural Gas.
    Europe, Argentina, USA, Japan all do it – trucks, cars. We sell it to them!!!
    What would it take for Australia to wake up and use the low cost, low polluting local energy we have? Everything that stops that, can we destroy and uncreate it please.

  4. Big business and the elite of this world have everyone in their pockets and when they are ready to pull the plug we will be killing each other for survival. Unfortunately not many will survive and that is when the elite will have total control of the world its resources and the survivors will be their slaves. THIS IS THE BIG PICTURE.
    WAKE UP!!!!!!!

  5. Things will change only when we stop big business funding political parties and have taxpayer-funded elections. Until then the fossil fuel companies will continually remind political parties how much they donate to their election campaigns – and nothing will be done by any party. And fossil fuel companies will continue to get billions in tax rebates from our covernments.

  6. This is really a no-brainer.
    The answer, as stated by others above, is natural gas.
    Australia has some of the world’s biggest reserves, enough to last us for hundreds of years.
    And what does our federal government do ? Sell it off to China and Japan at rock-bottom prices.
    Where is the vision for our future ? And even more importantly, where is the infrastructure to enable us to utilise our own resources.
    Think of the jobs it would create in building and maintaining a national grid for industrial and domestic use, let alone transport.
    Securing our energy needs for future generations seems beyond the capabilities of our current crop of pollies.

  7. Sorry but if you compare the cost of petrol between 10 tanks of 98 and E10, obviously the E10 will come out cheaper! You should instead work out the savings over a set period of time (like 6 weeks) and compare how much money was spent on fuel during that time. I reckon you’ll be going to the pump less and the 98 could come out on top if not even with the E10. Either way, the cleaning your engine gets from the E98 is worth it!

    • ‘Fraid not.
      Most new vehicles will happily run on E10; some are already designed to run on E20.
      The current pump price differential between 98 and E10 varies between about 15-20 cents per litre.
      On an average ( supermarket docket ) discounted price of say $1.40 a litre for E10, that’s about a 14% premium, and you won’t get 14% better fuel economy by using 98.
      When I had the last car that specified using 98, the premium was only 7 cents.
      So, the premium has increased almost threefold, but the base price nor the cost of refining hasn’t.
      Another big rip-off by the oil companies and the supermarkets.

  8. We need to apply what the white South Africans did prior to Mandela: at the government level – with full government ownership of the oil, they stockpiled at least ten years supply for whites only in worked-out coal mines to ride out any disruption to international oil supplies.

    Criminally, Mandela & co dissipated this legacy, and now “majority-rule” South Africa is as vulnerable as is the EU to the vagaries of international oil supply.

    Also, when I was young, my great-uncles had wood-fired Stanley Steamers that were a portable steam-engine that only needed wood and water to go. Deathly quiet they were! They could creep up on a cyclist and say boo without the cyclist knowing it until too late. A solution to car noise-pollution as well.

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