No Way to Avoid Petroleum. Imagine That.

All Roads Lead to Petroleumland

All Roads Lead to Petroleumland

I was sucked in to playing Energyville by impressive ads in the Economist and the Wall Street Journal. I expected a complex, sophisticated game that would show me, as promised, the tradeoffs involved in providing energy for a fictional city 20 plus years into the future. Silly me. As I knew, Energyville is sponsored by Chevron, but I didn’t think, apparently naively, that Chevron would so obviously skew the game in its favor. What happened to subtlety? The game is laughably simplistic, and all gambits played result in a future full of oil. Specifically, no matter how much you opt to conserve in your future world, no matter how much solar, wind, and nuclear power you employ, the game insists that cars, planes, and other modes of transport will need to burn things. Now airplanes, OK, I get it. But cars? And when you get 20 years down the road, those cars still have to use internal combustion engine, using new energy sources like hydrogen and shale oil. There we see Chevron’s tell. There can’t be a world without internal combustion engine-driven cars, because that would mean the end of Chevron and other oil companies’ lifeblood. That would mean no more gas stations, no more oil (or hydrogen) distribution network, no more refineries, no more exploration–no more reason for Chevron to exist.

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