I think it is a good thing that a story on how much petroleum is involved in our lives was front and center on Yahoo news this past week. It shows the thing that makes it so hard to transition away from petroleum and convinces some that peaking and declining production will produce nothing less than a collapse of civilization. The thing to keep in mind is that amount of oil that goes into petrochemicals in the US (based on March 2010 data) is around 2.9%, while gasoline that were burn through like crazy uses 46%. If people want to keep all the modern materials derived from oil during the production decline, they will have to accept reduced driving. No more idling in the Hummer at the end of the cul-de-sac for helicopter mom as she waits for little Stone and Avery (or whatever pretentious names they give 'em) to be dropped off from the schoolbus. You can walk down the end of the street, do ya a world of good!
As geologist Ken Deffeyes once said, "Crude oil is much too valuable to burn as a fuel".