Conventional fuels such as oil, natural gas, and coal have historically provided reasonable financial returns on investment as well as energy returned on energy invested (EROEI), despite the fact that continuous financial and energy inputs are required to use these fuels. Besides EROEI, the energy intensity ratio (EIR) is another measure for energy use and economics. The EIR is the ratio of energy bought per dollar to the energy it takes to make a dollar in the economy. In this case we are considering the cost of petroleum per barrel, and therefore we are discussing EIRp or EIR of oil based upon price. The EIRp is related to historical economical data and conclusions will be drawn about the value of EIRp as an economic indicator. Then, EIRp will be used as a tool to demonstrate the value of shifting energy resources from petroleum to alternatives, specifically for transportation and petrochemicals. The considerations for modern economic conditions as they compare to historical economic conditions will be explained, and the viability of policy and alternative technological transportation scenarios will be described in terms of EIRp and its relationship to vehicle miles travelled.

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