People fear peak oil and certainly whether or or not a nation has oil affects foreign policy towards that country. However more recently the public at large is concerned about hydrocarbons because of suspected influences on the climate and the impact of price on the economy. Even though the influence of the oil price on the economy at least of Europe and the US has sunken it still is a major factor. So clearly if we want to limit our negative influence on the ecology of our planet and reduce the unhealthy influence on politics and thus ultimately the wellbeing of a large number of people we need to reduce our dependency on hydrocarbon fuels.
Fortunately progress in science offers tantalizing hope for amelioration and indeed there are many developments that combined will help overcome this addiction.
Breakthroughs on the horizon like room temperature superconductors allow transporting electricity over large distances without the loss of todays technology. Also with the advent of less then 1$ per watt and better photovoltaics energy production is less expensive then coal.
Combined with 10 times better energy storage in batteries used for instance in plugin hybrid cars or buffering stations enabling local distribution of electric power in microgrids make vast loses of power in maintaining the local power grid stability a thing of the past and thus allow to reduce standby power from coal power plants or make then altogether unnecessary.
Power sources like wind power for instance in the form of the maglev turbine can be combined with all these advances.
What about other uses for oil etc in producing fertilizer and plastic? Well, for fertilizing soil there exist even better techniques we still need to figure out but at least we think there are a lot better ways just look at terra preta soil and if all fails why not take co2 and turn it into fuel?
This is just a cursory look at a few developments shaping our future. Let us strive to reduce our footprint and stop the destruction of our ecology with futile and counterproductive activities like bio-fuel.