The other day I was shopping and noticed that my shaving cream seemed to be more expensive that I recalled it previously being, and it got me thinking about whether the cost was related to the current high price of crude oil.

Now most of the concern in the news relating to the high oil cost revolves about the flow on costs for petrol, jet fuel, and diesel (with the associated increase in transport costs for trucks, ships and trains). Not much mention is made of the other effects that scarcer oil reserves (with their associated high free market prices) will have.

Now my shaving cream has butane as the main propellant to get it out of the can, but Butane comes from oil (either directly or by “cracking” heavier hydrocarbons in the oil). Butane has many many other applications as well, from gas stoves to refrigeration, which would become more expensive as oil gets scarcer.

The other thing that people are often unaware of is that Helium (as in the gas, which floats those party balloons) is almost entirely acquired by extracting it from oil, and when our oil runs out so will our helium, which is a problem given how much we use helium for cooling things like the magnets in Medical MRI machines, in deep sea diving, in weather balloons, and in welding and other industrial processes.

Food for thought really.