Kerosene oil is one of the oldest forms of fuels. It was first discovered in the 9th century by Rāzi in Persia. He described two methods of making the stuff. It was later “re-discovered” in the mid 19th century by a number of different people in the coal industry because they saw its potential for various uses. Up until this point, lamp oil and the like was supplied by the whaling industry using whale blubber.
What will you do when the grid goes down? We all know its a matter of time. Perhaps it will be a man-made economic collapse. Maybe a war will come to our shores. There are any number of other scenarios suggested by people who talk about these things online. This eventuality is one of the reasons we moved where we did on An American Homestead. When this happens, will you be able to get batteries at the store? Maybe you will stock up on batteries, but they will run out eventually. However, having kerosene lamps and lanterns solidifies your ability to have light in the long run.
How can I make such a claim? Easy. Kerosene takes little to no modern technology to produce. In fact, I’ll be so bold as to claim that kerosene will be one of the first resources to come back into trade once a REAL collapse happens. Especially in the United States!
Stay with me here and let me plead my case.
At the time of this blog post, the people around the United States are noticing the extreme drop in gas prices. It’s nice to finally see gas prices at almost under $2 a gallon and falling. Why do you think we are seeing this giant drop, especially after the last few years of gas prices flirting with $4 a gallon and up? The answer is simple.
The OPEC nations over in the middle east are paying attention to the shale industry that is getting off the ground in the United States. The last 2 years have seen the U.S. shale industry shift into high gear to produce fuel for our consumption. Right now, shale production is expensive and world oil prices need to be above $70 a barrel for there to be any value in that production. However, with increased industry comes advances in technology and the costs of production go down.
If the cost of shale oil production goes down, that puts the OPEC nations in a tough spot. It makes it harder to sell their oil to us and others when we can now afford cheaper shale oil made right here at home. OPEC is hard at work trying to flood the market with their middle eastern oil in order to drive the prices down. They have one goal and one goal only in mind: DESTROY THE SHALE INDUSTRY IN AMERICA.America is super rich in shale and coal. Its everywhere! In fact, when our well was drilled here on our homestead, a whole bunch of shale rock spewed out of the hole during the drilling. Some of the biggest production of shale in the United States is in Colorado, but really its all over the place in various forms.
So what does this have to do with kerosene? Kerosene is one of the first by-products of shale or coal. When coal or shale is heated up, it begins to “sweat”. This “sweat” can be collected and distilled. That is Kerosene. The name was first used by Canadian geologist Abraham Gesner in 1846. The process is so simple, as mentioned above, it was found in texts as early as the 9th century in Persia.
By the late 1800’s there were places all over the world making kerosene and it basically put the whaling industry out of business. Kerosene was a brighter and cleaner and CHEAPER burning fuel unlike what had ever been used before. On top of that, it was very simple to make.
My whole point is that if/when the grid goes down, kerosene will be one of the first commodities back on the market, available for sale or trade. Bet on it. Shale and coal in American is so widely available that getting your hands on it will be easy.
Please consider this. America (at least where I hail from) has an obsession with barbecue. St. Louis, Kansas City, and the State of Texas all compete over their ability to make the best tasting barbecue. As a result, the charcoal industry in those areas is big business. Every grocery store sells bags of barbecue charcoal. Every charcoal plant in the United States right now has the ability to turn into a kerosene plant. Charcoal is made with a retorting process. Kerosene is made the same way. During a collapse, how many backyard barbecues do you think Joe Sixpack will be having on the weekends? The plants that once produced charcoal will and can easily be switched over to make kerosene with the rich coal and shale deposits that are all around them.From the very onset of building our homestead, it was our intention to get to the point of only consuming wood and kerosene for our energy needs. Of course we still need gasoline for the vehicles and diesel for the tractor. However, with receiving the 5 gallon still from Claw Hammer Supply, one of our advertisers, we now have the ability to create the fuels we need for all but one of our homestead vehicles. One of our vehicles is already set up to run E85 right out of Detroit. Another would need a small adjustment in the carburetor and our diesel tractor can be configured to run on an alcohol mixture as well.
There is not much manufacturing left in America. Most of it has moved overseas. Making kerosene requires no modern technology. We have the ability to easily make retorts for its production so that kerosene might in fact be the first thing back on the market after a real collapse in this country. I believe that if we can limit our dependence on fuel sources to mostly wood and kerosene, the effect that a collapse may have on our family would be limited in that area.