What happens when Europe runs out of fuel? And how will that affect the USA?


Brandon Smith, whom we’ve met often in these pages, has a grim energy forecast for Europe over the coming months.

Here are the developments Europe will see in the near term:

  • Rolling Blackouts
  • Further Price Inflation In Energy
  • Business Shutdowns Due To Operating Costs
  • Energy Fascism – Informants And Government Monitoring Of Usage
  • Further Price Inflation In General Goods Including Food
  • More Government Price Controls
  • Governments Pushing The Idea Of Universal Basic Income
  • Rationing Of All Necessities
  • Severe Economic Decline And Job Losses
  • Large Numbers Of People Freezing In The Winter
  • Civil Unrest

I could continue on with this list but I think you get the idea. It’s not going to be pretty. For those of us in the US this seems like a scenario out of sight and out of mind, but this will not be the case. Europe is going to be scouring markets for energy supplies, anywhere they can find them. Keep in mind, the US is ALREADY sending 75% of its liquid natural gas exports to Europe. There is very little resource backstop for the EU to dip into.

This means less oil, less gas, less coal, less of everything for purchase in America. Sure, we could be producing most of these resources in-house and cut exports to the EU, but the Biden Administration will never allow that to happen.

At the very least, prices are going to rise everywhere on the majority of goods. I continue to predict that US gas prices at the pump will climb to around $7 a gallon on average. Propane and other heating commodities will rocket beyond previous highs.

Supply chains will be weakened. European manufacturing will take a massive hit and many of these businesses will not be able to operate at normal capacity. Most of them will have to reduce production and institute layoffs. This means that European goods will be exported less frequently and prices on the remaining goods will spike in the US.

European agriculture will also be hit hard. Food production will fall as energy supplies and fertilizer supplies falter. This means they will be buying up more grains and foods from other nations, causing prices to jump for everyone else including the US.

Civil unrest in Europe is assured. Similar conditions are already brewing in the states, but it’s hard to say if Europe’s problems will trigger public anger here. More price inflation might be the straw that breaks the camel’s back, but this is unlikely until mass layoffs start later this year and into 2023. It takes time for the public to realize things are not going to return to normal.

Overall, the US economy will continue its path towards destabilization, though it seems that Europe will see the worst of the global crisis over the next several months. Unfortunately, the interdependency created by globalism has left every country in the world overly reliant on the others. If any one link in the chain breaks, the entire system breaks. This is why decentralization is so important – It creates redundancies and protects each individual nation from a potentially disastrous domino effect.

There’s more at the link.  It’s well worth reading Mr. Smith’s article in full.

The Biden administration is so ideologically hide-bound in its efforts to reduce dependence on fossil fuels that it probably regards European demand for US natural gas and other energy sources as a fortuitous development.  The more it can export to Europe, the less will be available for US businesses and consumers, forcing us to either do without, or spend vast sums of money re-equipping our fleets with electric and other vehicles.

Unfortunately, that’s going to make our present economic woes even worse.  I don’t think we’ll fare as badly as Europe looks likely to do, but it’s going to be painful, there’s no doubt about that at all.  I don’t want to think about how badly $7-per-gallon gasoline, forecast by Brandon Smith, will hurt most families’ finances.  It’s bound to soak up income that would otherwise buy food and other necessities, making life harder all round.

Miss D. and I are seriously considering what this will mean for us.  It’s likely we’ll become a one-vehicle family for the short to medium term, parking one vehicle and using the other one (the most economical one, of course!) between us, combining journeys whenever possible to save on fuel.  I daresay we’ll be far from alone in that.

It might be a good idea to start thinking ahead along those lines.  How will you cope with $7-per-gallon gasoline?  How will your family cope?  Start planning now, then you won’t be caught off-guard if and when that happens.  If local traffic is safe enough to permit it, could some of your family ride bicycles for local errands?  How about car-pooling to and from work, or a nearby town?  Could you walk to and from nearby shops and services?  What’s public transport like – its frequency, safety (including crime rate), cleanliness, etc.?



  1. I hope you are right about how bad it will get in this country, but I fear you are too optimistic. Once things start to unravel there are no limits. I hope we miss two legs of the trifecta of plague, war and famine. Odds are we won't.
    I have a tragic story today. A friend of mine, a married woman in her early 40s with 3 kids and a husband. has finally started to see just what is coming. Though they just added an expensive home improvement project this summer, she generally is quite sensible and economical with the families finances. Not the typical paycheck to paycheck type. I've tried to gently aim her in the direction of some measure of prepping for a couple of years without much success. She had lots of reasons and excuses. Today it is like it finally hit her and she is asking me what to do. What can I tell her, it is too late to do much. For me, as with most preppers, building up a reasonable supply of food and other essentials is a long term financial commitment. Acquiring alternate forms of money and the means to defend it is also long term trip.
    Inflation and the current shortages means building up a supply is difficult at best. And they have no means of defense. She feels that they could trust her neighbors and I said they're not hungry yet. I gave her some suggestions that may help a bit, but that family is not my responsibility. I feel even more depressed for their future than I do for mine. I would give them a means of defense if they asked because I have planned on arming others in necessary and have the spare materials.

  2. James,

    One thing to consider is this: even if it's late, there's a reason that "better late than never" is a bit of folk wisdom.

    I am not as prepared as many on this site, though we are quite frugal with our finances…just a question of how far even I can stretch a penny. However, I choose to look at it differently: not "I don't have a year's worth of food for every member of my household," but "this week I purchased an extra 5-40 ounce jars of peanut butter and put it in the storage closet. That is a good thing." (And yes, it gets rotated through.) Because in the end, I can't control my country or the world and even with shopping at Aldi, I can't make a dollar stretch further than is possible. But in a given week, I can put by some big jars of peanut butter, or a couple boxes of oatmeal, or a dozen cans of veggies/fruit, etc. And no matter what, when the excrement hits the oscillation device, I won't regret having what I am able to put by.

  3. Same here – better late than never – the hall closet which is the alternate pantry is packed tight with tubs of canned goods, pasta, rice, dried beans, cooling oil, pet food … the water bottles are stacked high in the laundry closet, along with the bleach and OTC remedies and first aid supplies.
    I don't think it will get too terribly bad in Texas, but better to have and not need, then need and not have.

  4. My family has lived on this land for over a century. My life covers a bit more than half of that, and I’ve always had an interest in how life was in the “old days”.
    From a business (farming) POV, the increased cost of inputs has , so far, been matched by the increased value of product. That will potentially keep us operating at a reasonable level of production…. the big question being the element of financial risk. High costs of production without a guaranteed harvest, due to variable seasons means that it may only take a couple of drought years to make things very difficult. I can reduce my business risk by reducing inputs, but that will also reduce outputs.

    From a lifestyle POV, I can imagine reverting to something like my Grandparents priorities.
    Most food was either produced on-farm, ir purchased as raw ingredients and in bulk. Instead of buying fresh bread and milk daily, you milked a cow and bought bulk flour and baked your own bread. Planning becomes more important. Trips to the nearest town are restricted to once-a-week and to the nearest city, only a few times per year.

    Light in the house may be restricted to small sources such as portable lamps and head-torches. Running water may have to be converted to gravity-feed and hot water may no longer be available out of the tap, unless I convert to some form of wood-fired water-heater. Wood, I have in plenty. I’m not a big fan of solar-power, and it’s probably too late to make the investment required to go fully off-grid, but enough to charge portable lighting and communication devices such as this tablet, will be affordable.

    Keep in mind that we have been operating – and getting crops in the ground – with diesel at up to Au$2.05/litre (about US$6.00/gallon in your money if I get the sums right.) and paying up to $1400/ton for nitrogenous fertiliser. Anyone trying to tell you that farmers need “encouragement” to seek greater efficiencies or reduce inputs is either utterly clueless, or an outright liar.

    We are the most innovative and adaptable species on earth. We can work this out if we use commin-sense and refuse to panic. Unfortunately, if we were calm, collected and sensible, we wouldn’t need to have this conversation.

    All the best…… Peter.

  5. Another change that I would expect to see, is rationing.
    We saw it here in WW2, and the Poms (Brits to the rest of you) copped it good and hard in both World Wars.

    That will mean limited amounts of fuel and other commodities. Being prepared will be demonised as “hoarding” and government inspectors checking your pantry may be as much of a problem as food riots and societal breakdown. Keep that in mind. Just like Covid restrictions, there is no end to government intrusion, control and irrational requirements.

    If you get allocated only so-much fuel per week/month, I can see a thriving black-market, and a lot of networking between neighbours to combine multiple activities for each trip.

    Etc, etc, etc.

  6. PeterW

    After seeing how intrusive Government in your country became during covid, I hope that the Government here in the U.S. is prevented from going to extremes when things get worse.

  7. Old NFO hints at an important truth, will delivery truck get through to supply grocery stores? In a collapse can local governments even function?
    We have seen what happens in cities when order breaks down the last couple of years. In any famine in history there has always been at least some food, how does it get distributed?

  8. BillB…
    I agree.
    I despise dictatorial government. I’m just basing a prediction on what we have seen government do before.

    Distribution will probably depend on your location. Inner-cities and suburbia may not be the best places to ride this out if things get ugly.

  9. The only thing that I think will ameliorate the situation for us in North America is that we aren't set up to export large quantities of energy.
    For example, we only have a few coal terminals and LNG export terminals have only come online the last couple of years – they are already pretty near capacity, and the current regime is unlikely to expedite any more, so most US energy will stay here.

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