In my world, petrol will not be available anymore and there will have been a crisis ending its availability (the story is set after the crisis).

The consequences will be these:

Developing and poor countries will regress to some sort of medieval era while stable countries will survive and become independent from the petrol by successfully moving to other sources of energy and advancing the civilization.

Basically the world will breakdown in 2 parts. A "futuristic part" with advanced technology composed of the countries that have survived the petrol crisis and another part with poor countries that become more poor due to the petrol crisis.

I know that people in some poor countries already live in a similar way but how much can hold done in fiction?

I took a look atthe map of the developing countries (Wikipedia) and everything seems OK with what I want to write but I'm not sure about the 2 type of countries. Is this realistic?

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    $\begingroup$ Realistically, there is not going to be "futuristic" and "medieval" divide. There will be "rich" and "poor" divide, like there was for the last 100+ years. All the fruits of modern technology, like computers, smartphones and automatic rifles would be available in all corners of the world (for a price). $\endgroup$
    – Alexander
    Commented Apr 19, 2022 at 18:52
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    $\begingroup$ Also worth noting that developing countries often leapfrog established countries. If gasoline suddenly stopped working, the shock to all developed nations would be cataclysmic, while many developing nations would not experience nearly so great a shock. Depending on how long it takes, it might have a global levelling effect, rather than sharpen existing divisions. $\endgroup$
    – jdunlop
    Commented Apr 20, 2022 at 22:00

3 Answers 3


The effects of no more petrol depend on several factors including how quickly petrol disappears.

If petrol is available for the next 100 years but gradually becomes more expensive, then the change over to other fuels will not cause a major disruption to most countries. The Middle East will be the most affected.

If petrol would disappear quickly, we would need rapid experimentation and rapid changes to how energy is distributed. Rapid experimentation will have environmental consequences that will cause trouble in places.

If petrol were to run out in the next 5 years, then the dividing line will between countries with strong systems in place that preserve the present structures and those that don't. Places that can adapt more quickly will change and keep going. Places that insist that the world not change will run out of energy (and may face internal upheaval).

This rigidity is both government and cultural. To rapidly switch fuels, the population needs to be open to new ideas and cultural changes. Governments would need to support regulations that allow new ideas to serve the public instead of forcing everything into existing forms. If the EU has too strong of regulations, then they will have troubles.

The dividing line may be within countries, states, and provinces. At one time, support for shipping was the dividing issue and some places refused to change while other towns did. Those that changed grew and those that didn't are now "quaint Medieval villages".

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    $\begingroup$ The Middle East will be the most affected I feel like any petro state would be badly affected - Venezuela, Russia, the Congo... $\endgroup$
    – jdunlop
    Commented Apr 20, 2022 at 22:01

It is not as straightforward as it seems. Some third world countries use so little energy that they do not have much to lose from an oil crisis. Then there are countries like Brazil that will suffer in the transport sector, but mitigate the problems in the other sectors because a lot of their electricity come from hydroelectric power plants, what about France that relies heavily on nuclear power plants? Then among the developed countries there is a huge difference in the efficiency of their energy usage. The US here have a lot to lose, because notwithstanding all the nuclear power plants they have they consume huge amounts of fossil fuels.

In short I think that in the future you describe the winners and losers cannot be divided in developed/developing and poor countries. The dividing line will cut through the current classifications.

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    $\begingroup$ If future is just exaggerated now that is fne but not so fun. I like the idea that in this scenario some current first world countries might regress / collapse and some current third world countries take advantage of the vacuum to advance. $\endgroup$
    – Willk
    Commented Apr 19, 2022 at 1:35
  • $\begingroup$ So countries that have other sources of energy survive the crisis and countries that don't use energy are arleady in some sort of medieval era. If this is what you mean then isn't already done? $\endgroup$
    – LAC
    Commented Apr 19, 2022 at 10:11
  • $\begingroup$ It's worth noting that if a country's transport sector collapses, that they can keep the lights on is irrelevant.... $\endgroup$
    – jdunlop
    Commented Apr 20, 2022 at 21:56
  • $\begingroup$ @jdunlop Brazil is a major producer of bio-ethanol and contrary to what happens in the US making biofuels there requires less energy in input than what they get in output. So with a combination of bicycles, trains and trams plus biofuels to transport goods things won't be fine, but it would not be a collapse. $\endgroup$
    – FluidCode
    Commented Apr 23, 2022 at 21:02

The divide between advanced and not-so-advanced countries has been a constant in our history: countries which could work metal and countries which could not, countries which could build cities and aqueducts and countries which could not, countries which could sail the oceans and countries which could not, countries which can have clean water and health services and countries which cannot, etc. etc.

I don't see any reason for this not holding also in future or in the scenario you depict: developing new technologies will require resources and not all countries will be able to either afford the researches or pay the royalties for using the findings of those researches. And guess what will that lead to? Yes, precisely what you have described.


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