THE September 2021 petrol crisis has given a glimpse of what life could be like if and when fuel supplies completely dry up.
Experts have long warned that the clock is ticking, but just how long do we have left before the earth runs out of fuel?
How much fuel is left in the world?
Petroleum products – such as petrol and diesel – are made from crude oil removed from the ground.
It is one of several fossil fuels formed millions of years ago – but humans have only been using it for just over 200 years.
Despite the relatively short time period, supplies are said to to already be running low – though exactly how much is left in the world is not known.
This has led to a push for renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power.
How long until the earth runs out of fuel?
Global consumption of fossil fuels is rising by more than one per cent each year, according to experts.
There is no universally agreed timeframe as to when these will deplete, but it is generally accepted that if we continue burning fossil fuels at the current rate, they will be gone at some point this century.
Some scientists even predict oil deposits could be used up as early as 2052.
The Union of Concerned Scientists believes there is enough coal to last about 150 years, while natural gases could last up to 50 years.
What will happen when the world runs out of fuel?
A depletion of the global fuel supplies would likely cause some serious problems.
Oil’s distillation products like petrol and diesel run almost every mode of transport around the world.
Prices for the last remaining supplies would skyrocket, while all private and public fuel-run transport would eventually come to a grinding halt.
The production of food, materials, clothes and drugs would also eventually cease as oil and other fossil fuels are vital for the production of electricity.
And natural gas is key to making some fertilizers, which, if gone, would cripple food production around the globe.
Emergency services may become severely reduced, meaning there could be a surge in crime.
And millions of people would likely lose their jobs as a result, and the global economy could collapse.
So, the loss of these resources would have a profound effect of civilisation and could spark a major war.