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Petroleum conservation seeks to find ways to cut the consumption of petroleum in one way or another, typically through the application of science and new technologies. This practice is not only a priority of many governments around the world, but also of private groups, who see petroleum use as having a number of negative side effects. The goal, generally, is not to eliminate the use of petroleum resources, but find ways to ensure they last as long as possible. A number of strategies may be employed to meet that objective.
The main strategy employed in petroleum conservation is to look for ways to be more efficient. For example, automobiles are one of the chief areas of focus when it comes to petroleum consumption and energy conservation. Many governments have put certain fuel efficiency ratings into place for automobile manufacturers, and many of those manufacturers seek to produce automobiles that do even better than those minimum standards.
Although not as well known, petroleum conservation also reaches into the industrial sector. Many boilers and other equipment tend to run on oil-based fuels, thus creating increased demand for petroleum. Some countries, such as India, have put a priority on updating this equipment so that consumption is curbed.
Another way many groups have sought to meet the standards of petroleum conservation is through the use of alternative energy sources. This could include electricity, natural gas, solar, and wind energy. To a lesser extent, coal may replace petroleum in some applications, but coal is not considered any less harmful to the environment than burning oil in many cases. Therefore, those who are motivated to conserve petroleum tend to find ways to do it by promoting green resources.
Aside from the environmental factors, shortages of petroleum have become a major motivator for some groups. Some estimates have suggested the world could exhaust economically viable oil deposits within a few decades. Therefore, if other alternative energy sources could be used, it would help to at least push back that date, and prolong the availability of the fuel. It would also give other replacement technologies a better chance of being developed to a practical level.
In addition to perceived shortages, conservation of petroleum also makes economic sense to many people. Petroleum can be a significant operating expense for many businesses. If there is a way to cut consumption of the fuel, then those businesses could also possibly cut costs and become more competitive. The same even applies to individual households. Therefore, petroleum conservation could also help the economy at multiple levels.