Holiday Weekend Open Comment Thread

Discuss news, opinion, or just catch up. Have a good holiday.

While you're at it, go read the new ASPO newsletter. Warning: Not very uplifting.

and, then, when you're done with that, go read Kurt Cobb's last couple of pieces. Good stuff, Kurt.

and, then, if you're still looking for something to do, go down and surf the peak oil webring or head over to Flying Talking Donkey.

Here's an essay I wrote to someone a few months ago who was getting
scared about dying due to Peak Oil.

My advice, after experience with Y2K, is to be very skeptical about this
kind of thing and not to let yourself get sucked into this survivalist
mentality. It is a bad mental space to get into.

Over the course of my lifetime I've seen many such disaster scenarios
predicted, and none of them have come true. In the late 70s and early
80s it was stagflation and bank failures. Gold hit unheard-of peaks, a
sure sign of impending collapse. Bank failures were an ongoing disaster
scenario throughout the 80s, they were at record levels. Then of course
there was Y2K, the granddaddy of all non-disasters.

Unfortunately the Y2K sites have all disappeared. But before letting
yourself get sucked into Peak Oil hysteria, you should do some research
on Y2K. How exactly could you have known back then that nothing would
happen? If you could see the information that was being dispensed,
the failed remediations, the worries about embedded control systems that
couldn't be fixed, the government report card Fs, all hyped and trumpeted
by web sites and authors (many of them respected software experts!),
it was hard to sort out fact from fiction.

I see the same thing today. Most of these doomsayers are selling books!
They have a personal economic motivation to exaggerate the problem and
make it sound as bad as they can.

The real question is, why didn't Y2K cause disaster? And why have none
of the other disasters come to pass? Ultimately, it is due to people.
Ordinary people doing their jobs, fixing things and making things work.
No change occurs in a vacuum. Every action causes a reaction. You need
to have faith in the ability of people to respond to problems and fix
them. That is what has gotten the human race as far as it has come today.
It's not going to stop. There is no end to human ingenuity.

As far as the specifics of Peak Oil, I would suggest trying to read
as many contrarian sites as disaster sites. Unfortunately, disaster
sells better. The Wikipedia article at has some links to both sides of
the story.

Also look at the financial markets. Financial professionals live and
breathe this stuff. They are betting their financial livelihoods,
college for their kids, their retirements. It's not a hobby for them.
They study projections of supply and demand every day. They're predicting
< $50/bbl oil in 2010. These are the real experts. I wouldn't blow off
their predictions in favor of some guy who's scaring people for a buck.

Look at actual oil production figures, from the links in this thread.
You will see that on the average it has gone up very slowly over the
past few years. That hasn't caused disaster. Maybe it will level off
and gradually come down. But people can adjust. There are many avenues
for gradually reducing consumption and becoming more efficient. And if
gas goes up to $3 or $4 a gallon, so what? It's been that expensive in
many parts of the world for decades. In real dollars it was $3 right
here in the U.S. back in the 80s. As it rises, people can carpool and
reduce vacation trips. There is plenty of slack in the system that
people can take up by tightening their belts a little.

Plus, once this problem becomes real, we will certainly see a crash
program by governments all over the world to fix it. New research
efforts, new technologies will be pushed as hard as possible. That in
itself will cause economic stimulation that can do much to counter the
hit imposed by higher fuel costs. I can't come close to imagining all
that will happen, but again, my bet is on people. Human ingenuity has
always come through before.

Look at how people respond during wartime. Germany had most of its oil
cut off. Did that stop its war effort? Certainly not. They switched to
substitute fuels. Don't say it can't happen here. Again, that reflects
a static mindset. Remember, action leads to reaction. Environmental
concerns and other present-day restrictions will go out the window
if disaster seems to be a real threat. People will always respond to
mitigate the problem.

A big problem with survivalism is that the next step is conspiracy
theories and paranoia. Faced with a lack of evidence that people "in the
know" agree with the theories, it must be that they secretly do agree
and are covering up the true facts. You'll come to believe that the
government is rigging the markets and doing all kinds of trickery to keep
people in the dark. The CIA is out to get you. There's no end to it.

The bottom line is, human progress is going to continue. Our children
will live in a world far wealthier than our own. We, the human race,
will make sure of it, just as we have for centuries. There is no end
to the growth of knowledge, and any threat is only going to increase
the urgency and vigor with which we press forward. Bet on humanity.
It's the safest bet there is.

Egads, the shade of Julian Simon is haunting the Oil Drum! :-)

I should stress up front that I have not personally reached a position on how bad peak oil will be yet. I believe it depends critically on the depletion rate, and on the viability of the alternatives, and I don't have an adequate understanding of either so far.

But, let me offer some food for thought, notwithstanding.

It isn't the case that human evolution has been a constant steady progress forward. A number of civilizations in the past have collapsed, including some very savvy, well-organized folks (eg the Romans). Some of those collapses have resulted in massive reductions in population (eg the Mayans, the Chaco Canyon Anasazi). See Joseph Tainter's "The Collapse of Complex Civilizations", or Jared Diamond's recent "Collapse" for summary treatments of these issues.

It is true industrial (ie fossil fueled) civilization has mostly gone forward, but there have been some pretty major blips that were very unpleasant to live through along the way (eg the great depression, the major world wars). There's no reason to think we are any more enlightened now than we were 50 or 100 years ago, such that these kinds of things couldn't happen again.

So, it is not a foregone conclusion that our current global civilization is guaranteed to go forward and prosper ad-infinitum just because humans are creative and adaptable (I agree they are). Nor is the fact that we have solved a variety of recent potential problems (such as Y2K) proof that all future problems will be soluble. Any given potential crisis is something that needs to be examined and debated on its merits, and the prophets of doom serve a valuable function in getting these questions looked at.

Having said that, I agree some prophets of doom do underestimate human adaptability, and it is important to read things from both sides (indeed all sides) of the debate.

Coal synfuel in particular has major issues as "the answer". There are supply questions about coal (there's lots of it, but the EROEI gets progressively worse as we go, and it isn't clear at what point it becomes a waste of time - at least it isn't clear to me). We know (from Vostok ice cores) that CO2 is very closely correlated with temperature over the last 0.5m years. We believe there's more CO2 in the atmosphere now than there has been for around 30-40m years. That's already pushed global temperature higher than it's been for at least 2000 years, probably much longer (but there aren't enough dead trees etc older than that to be sure). Even on our current fuel mix, we are going to push CO2 much higher than it is now, and going to mainly coal is pushing it off the scale.

Greenland ice cores reveal that the climate in the last 100k years fluctuates between a number of very different modes, and that the fluctuations sometimes happen in less than a decade (average temperatures there have flipped by 40 degrees F with 80% of the change coming in a single 12 month period in some cases). Climate in general does not appear to change gently and linearly, but instead to flip non-linearly between different modes.

So we don't have a clue what the climate is going to do if we triple the CO2 in the atmosphere, but we do know that it's at least possible for it to flip to some other state much faster than we can adapt to that change (thereby possibly causing a major interruption in the food supply). These issues are still poorly understood (IMO - I'm not a specialist in climate at all, just looking at it from the outside). But staring at a plot of temperature from the Greenland ice cores for an hour is sure a scary experience and makes one think really hard about burning all the coal we can get out of the ground.

It's hard to find a balance between the forcers of light and dark in this situation. Let share a little my personal evolution re: energy issues.

When I started studying energy in earnest, in college in the late 1970's (man oh man that makes me sound old), I was very concerned, and more than a little frustrated that the majority of U.S. citizens blew off Jimmy Carter's warnings about fossil fuel usage.

Over the years, I became even more concerned, and even very fearful at times. But more recently, the more I researched all energy issues, not just oil or even just fossil fuels, the more optimistic I became. The more clear it became to me that it really is a case of there being no cheap oil, not no oil at all; the more I saw that there's a lot being done now, long before oil becomes expensive, that will help greatly. In other words, I re-learned something I never should have forgotten, namely how adaptable and proactive human beings can be.

My site, The Cost of Energy (, is built with that optimism in mind. The better educated the masses are about all energy issues, not jsut peak oil, the better decisions they'll make, from whom to vote for to which car to buy to whether it's worth the effort to install compact fluorescent lights.

You optimists enjoy yourself.

Meanwhile, I'll continue working in my big ole garden getting ready for the year from hell.

Your arguments are hollow.

I first heard about peak oil in a college chemistry class in the spring of 1957. The professor drew Hubbart's peak on the board and suggested that the world's peak would occur within our lifetimes -- in about the year 2000 (very approximately), and he suggested that we should plan our lives around this, because it would be a difficult transition. Then he offered some solutions: Fischer-Tropsch synthesis, nuclear fusion, etc. These alternate energy sources would be practical if we started way ahead -- at least 20 years ahead of the peak.

When I became a chemistry teacher I covered this same topic every year in my courses. Through the 60s and 70s my presentation was optimistic. Iin the late 70s with the Arab oil embargo, I thought the problem was pretty well on the way to being solved. I got more pessimistic through the 80s and 90s until I retired in 2000. In all I estimate that I have taught about 8000 chemistry students -- mostly in large freshman chemistry classes, so at least there are some people out there who have heard about peak oil. I wonder how many remember.

Anyway, I have been thinking about peak oil for almost 50 years now and I guess I am still cautiously optimistic. It will be hard, but I think people will adapt. We'll travel less. We will become more vegetarian. We will develop alternate energy sources (I think coal liquification is viable). We will muddle through.

mikeB: I weill definitely enjoy myself, by working to help everyone get through the challenge of peak oil, via education. Yes, peak oil will be a bitch, but it's not going to result in the kind of "end of tyhe world as we know it" upheavals many are predicting, and at least some are hoping for. (I'm NOT suggesting that you are in that group of sickos wishing for a crash, just to be clear.) If anything, I expect to have even more fun than the doomsayers are.

Doug: That's precisely how I think it will play out. There will some very high prices paid throughout the transition, with travel definitely being one of the biggest losers. But there will also be winners, in both economics and culture, and we will muddle through.

Even the latest ExxonMobil report (described here) does not dispute the peak and its own prediction is 2010. If Colin Campbell or some of the other PO theorists say the peak is this year or next, there's still hardly any dispute worth mentioning. PG, HO, Ianqui and others who post here have gone to great lengths to examine known reserves, new sources, depletion rates, etc. on a country by country basis, sometimes down to the field level as in Saudi Arabia. The news is not good.

With respect to financial analysts, remember that in 1929, rosy forecasts were being made right up until the crash itself, "Blue Skies, smiling at me, nothing but blue skies do I see". The PO community plays the role of Roger Babson who warned of the 1929 crash. For even suggesting that people were buying stock on margins, stocks were way overvalued and that the bubble had to burst, Babson was vilified. We see the same herd mentality today. The usual mistake Halfin makes (almost all economists do this, I don't know if H is an economist) is to ascribe rationality to the marketplace and people's behaviour there. This is true but only up to a point as the 1929 crash plainly demonstrates.

With respect to the crash in the 20's and the points made about climate change, it is useful to point out that one of the great lessons of late 20th century science is that shit happens and sometimes very quickly. In geology, this is called "catastrophism" as opposed to the orthodox "uniformitarianism" of Sir Charles Lyell that held sway until relatively recently. When science was able to confirm that a big rock (or iceball) hit the Earth 65mya, that shook things up. For climate change, one of the most overlooked factors is the rapidity of the change -- only a few centuries. In geological time, this is not even an eye-blink. And there is a paleoclimate evidence that Stuart points out. In human affairs, things can change just as quickly, as they did on September 11th, 2001. And in the year 2000, the "dot bomb" bubble burst ina short period of time. "Buy, buy, buy" flipped and became "sell, sell, sell". This "correction" was a major problem for many high-tech workers (their jobs are now in India) and foreshadows what's coming up for energy.

I am not optimistic because Carter warned us all about our dependence on Fossil Fuels in the late 70's and we've done absolutely nothing about it since. In fact, we have greatly increased our dependence on foreign imports. The time required to make the great adjustment is now past and we await our fate. Compounding this is the decline in all major aspects of American life, the budget and trade deficits, two land wars in Asia, one of which we're losing, the sorry state of the health care and education systems, outsourcing of jobs with little manufacturing base, the weak dollar, our weird unhealthy trade arrangements with China (Walmart), gross wealth inequality, non-existent savings rates -- you name it, its declining.

I have found that "optimism" and "pessimism" are points of view of the speaker and the speaker's attitude toward events has little or no bearing on reality, which will unfold just the way it will once the preconditions for the outcome exist. Our house of cards will come tumbling down no matter how anybody feels about it.

Have a happy 4th of July.

Grinzo - I like your page, . Looks like a good resource, I'm bookmarking it.

Dave - Note that the ExxonMobil report did NOT predict peak oil in 2010. It predicted a peak in non-OPEC production by that date. The report claimed that OPEC would be able to ramp up production sufficiently to avoid peaking.

Another blog I like which often discusses PO is by James D. Hamilton, an econ prof at UCSD. He's got a good clear head on his shoulders. See for some recent discussion about whether the current high prices will lead to a drop in demand. This raises the possibility that we may see a production peak this year, not because we have reached a maximum, but due to a fall in demand. We may see a worldwide economic slowdown brought on by high oil prices, which will reduce demand, which will reduce supply. (By definition, in a free market, prices adjust so that supply equals demand). So PO supporters should not be too quick to fit what happens over the next couple of years into their preconceived scenarios. Reality is always more complex than predicted.

I'm tellin' Darth Kunstler on all of you guys!! (and gals..)

Re: Halfin's preconcieved scenarios

"Dave - Note that the ExxonMobil report did NOT predict peak oil in 2010. It predicted a peak in non-OPEC production by that date. The report claimed that OPEC would be able to ramp up production sufficiently to avoid peaking."

I am very skeptical that OPEC can (or will) carry the burden, I should have said that. From the article I cite:

OPEC nations would be quite unlikely to increase production as rapidly as needed unless compelled to do so. To put this shortfall in perspective, in 2003 Algeria produced 1.1 million barrels per day; a new Algeria would need to be brought on line in the Persian Gulf each and every year beyond 2010 just to keep up with the projected increase in demand.

"Reality is always more complex than predicted." Uhmm, is it? Many, many people foresaw the Iraq quagmire before the invasion. Babson foresaw the crash in 1929. I myself foresaw the "dot bomb" crash and watched helplessly as it happened. The details are unpredictable but the larger outcome is not. (Insert something about being doomed to repeat history here.)

"We may see a worldwide economic slowdown brought on by high oil prices, which will reduce demand, which will reduce supply."

OK, Halfin, just how bad is this eagerly awaited slowdown going to be? and, who's going to affected?

You may want to put this news item into the hopper.
Oil 'will hit $100 by winter'

Notice that the $100 oil prediction from SImmons is quoted in the title as "will" happen, but in the article's 3rd graf it's scaled back to "could". Which is the accurate quote?

$100 oil doesn't scare me. It would get a huge amount of attention in the press, which would be a good thing, since it would help the educatino process. It would push up gasoline prices, which would help push people into conserving (even though lower-income people would get wacked by the higher prices). And at no more than $100, it would mean we're not facing a major supply issue. With a chunk of that price being speculation and outright fear, it would mean that the market was very tight, but that no one was freezing or starving because of the price.

Oil at $100 AND RISING STRONGLY would be worrisome, because it would say that the market is very tight and is becoming tighter and/or more driven by speculation, which would be bad news.

Halfin: Please drop me an e-mail at [my first name]@[my last name].com

80% of futures traders loose there money. Therefor 80% dont have a clue. 4years ago they where betting oil was gunna be $20.30 dec06. Hmmmm making money then was like taking candy from a baby:0

I don't believe that, what Simmons says, about $100/barrel oil this year. Maybe $70 to $80. But when Lou says "$100 oil doesn't scare me", I am dumbfounded. The effects on the American economy would be devastating at this price. The resulting "recession" might act to bring prices down a bit but severe inflation with an already weak dollar would be here to stay. And, of course, job losses, bankruptcies etc.

"no one was freezing or starving because of the price"

I guess that means you, Lou, would not be freezing or starving. There is a large group of citizens called "the poor". They are called this because, well, they are poor.

We won't go out with bang (a crash) but rather with a whimper (a slow brown out).

There is still plenty of coal available as a fossil fuel. Yes, we have all heard about energy density, transportability, etc. Still, the coal is there and it will be used.

The real problem is that of our socio-economic-political systems not being able to deal with a slow-crawl into the grave yard. Yes we respond to immediate crisis, but not to slow fuses. Hubbert's Peak has been known of for 50 years. Learned professors have been sounding the alarms. What did Ronald Reagan do? Tear down the solar panels from the White House and laugh at slide-rule nerd Carter. What did the American people do? Cheer the movie star and mock the engineer. We will collapse in mockery.

You guys need to read what J said about the oil patch in the event of an oversupply. If we hit a big economical bump, and demand drops, the oil patch will contract again - making it really tough to spring back, because everybody in that profession is old - like over 50. If it was me, I would be looking to cash out and retire if I was that age and they started pink slipping.

I don't know about you guys, but watching the oil industry shrivel as we need it to find more oil is not a very warm and fuzzy thought.

The other thing that bothers me is that there was a poster names SW who works (ed?) in a PV lab, where they are looking at drastic cutbacks this year - wonderful thing to do with oil getting more difficult and the clock ticking on alternatives.

Our manufacturing base is really decimated from years of exporting it overseas - what happens when we have to make this stuff (alternative energy stuff) here because of transport costs? I mean, aren't most PV's made overseas? Aren't most of the componenets used to make voltage controllers and stuff made overseas too?

I know most steel isn't made here, and little electronic equipment - all jobbed out overseas. Aluminum is too. What will this mean when we have to kick off these alternatives?

But at least most plastic is made here, I think..

These things are some of what troubles me when people say that the economy will take care of it all. Sure, but until it takes a drastic enough turn to force change, nothing happens. That indicates to me a really bad situation, in a country where most people are given cars on their 16th birthdays....again, that makes me worry that people will stay calm.

So, what is the answer besides blogging or sitting back and watching it unfold in ant of several ways?

I think we can have some very plausible Peak Oil scenarios. We know that:

1) What matters most is the overall Peak Energy. The total energy consumption will peak a little later than oil. Oil decline can be rather sharp, but it is smoothed by gas and coal. Coal will peak (in 20 years???) smoothly. Natural Gas will decline sharply after peak (in 10 - 15 years globally???). Nuclear will peak smoothly. All other energy sources will be stable. Much depends on timing. But if coal and gas are still growing, an 8 % decline in oil suplly will mean about 3 % decline in total energy or even less.

2) Declining oil supply will probably mean a prolonged economic recession and even depression. This will effectively curb energy consumption. In a shrinking ecenomy no new industrial production capacity is needed, so the investments will be slashed. Even the existing capacity will not be replaced wholly. Because investments are energy-intensive this will affect significantly the overall energy demand. A recession will also affect cargo transporting, construction, commuting etc. We have here a feedback effect that may diminish the energy demand so much that no shortage is felt. The main issue may very well be the economy not energy.

3) We could have the Russian demographic scenario, a negative population growth of -0.5 per cent a year. This is what happened after the Soviet Peak Oil in the end of '80s.

4) With shrinking investments and population the effect on per capita living standard may not be dramatic. Consumption will shrink 0 % - 2 % a year. There might even be some slight, short recoveries of 0.5 - 1 %. May countries have seen this kind of development.

5) Because no real fuel shortages are felt in this type of shrinking economy, alternatives will have no important role. Ethanol will still mean vodka and driving by biofuel will mean a horse and a cart. Ask the East Europeans.

This scenario is not nice but livable. It will not necessarily mean wars and social upheavals, only more poverty and social misery. In the long terms the effects will much greater but then the world will already be different.


Not to nit pick, but in your scenario, where will the horses come from? and where will the food to feed the horses come from? There is another crisis looming -- which is arable land and fresh water.

The problem is not just peak oil, but a set of concurrent crises -- brought about by a planet bursting to its seams with human beings!

Just as an addition to the previous post -- a horse costs much more to keep and maintain than a car does currently!

TI: So as you so aptly explain, the emergency is now. We are already on that frictionless slope, sliding ever so inperceptibly towards doom. And hardly anyone seems to notice or care. The fireworks celebrations go on as usual this 4th July 2005. The politicians crow of their victorious increases in enemy body counts for irrational wars abroad. Wall Street pundits nod their heads like bobble toys in the back window of the car as each "bump" in the economy is taken in stride and thousands more families get their pink slips. MSM news worries about how many happy times viewers their entertain-news gimmicks can garner so as to pull in more revenues from ads. All this, as the global circus tent slides noiselessly down the 1 degree ice slope towards the edge of the back-melting glacier cliff.

Spooky, you ask what are the answers beyond blogging to the choir? Does anyone have a list eco-aware investment angels who are willing to invest in technologies that might save the world? I'm working on something. Still in stealth mode though because the patent has not been filed. Unfortunately this is nothing as big as cold fusion. It's just a tiny step back up the slippery down slope. Maybe it will inspire others to come up with even bigger ideas and better solutions.

Rajiv: How do you think the majority of the world goes on with a trickle of oil right now? They really use horses, mules, oxes etc. I remember seeing in Romania few years ago that there were a lot of horse carriages on all roads, may be more than cars. Romania had a devastating energy crisis in the 80's. All the roads were covered by horse shit. The farmers in the villages had horses, not tractors or cars. You could see the horses grazing around, on the meadows and road banks.

The are really a lot of people in the world living in a low-energy economy. Many societies have already experienced an energy crisis. The high-energy societies are a small minority. Welcome to the reality!

In a rural setting, with a transfer of organic mass to the animals, animal energy may be useful. However, in an urban setting, animal energy will not support current population levels. Both because of the decline in farm yields due to the shift from oil energy to animal energy, and because the farm yield will now have to be shared between humans and animals.

In fact in most third world countries, (my primary experience is with India) working animal populations have declined, because it is no longer "profitable" to use animals. In other words, the cost associated with the animal is more than the return provided. If however, prices rise, it may be possible that animal use will become profitable once again, but only at the cost of reducing the human population. In other words a massive die-off.

The current human population size is not supportable by animal power.

Rajiv: This is a Peak Oil discussion. We all know that using oil is the best solution. You have absolutely right. And you have really proven my point: it is a really bad idea to use farming area for biofuels in a massive scale. It is not a question of profitability but of food supply. But of course the Romanians know that so they have their horses grazing where the can be no food farming.

But as you know India you may also agree with me that the people there can now survive with a very low per capita energy consumption. The point is that sooner or later also the high-energy societies must learn to do that. It is easy to calculate that if everybody would use as little oil per capita as in India, we would have no oil crisis for several decades. The high-energy countries will not like that, but in the end there will be no choice.

I think that in the Peak Oil discussion there are quite a lot of "better dead than give up energy guzzling" -mentality. We would al like to somehow slip the oil crisis and go on as usual. But if that is not possible, some would like a nice and sudden die-off. The worst scenario seems be the most probable one: those using most oil must use less as most of the world is already doing.

Yes TI, you are absolutely right. Those using the most should have to give up the most. But I am pessimistic about that. I think the more likely scenariao, is that those with the most ability to pay the higher prices will get the most of the remaining oil. Which therefore puts more of a strain on the poorer part of the world, that which is already getting by with a much smaller consumptions of non renewable sources. Therefore, those are the regions where you will see the die off occur. Those are the places where the transition from oil to animal power is not feasible

We are stuck in a place where we can't go back, nor can we continue with our current ways. And unless we can collectively come to a resolution, and a path forward, we are in for some very rough times.

Dave: You said:

I don't believe that, what Simmons says, about $100/barrel oil this year. Maybe $70 to $80. But when Lou says "$100 oil doesn't scare me", I am dumbfounded. The effects on the American economy would be devastating at this price. The resulting "recession" might act to bring prices down a bit but severe inflation with an already weak dollar would be here to stay. And, of course, job losses, bankruptcies etc.

"no one was freezing or starving because of the price"

I guess that means you, Lou, would not be freezing or starving. There is a large group of citizens called "the poor". They are called this because, well, they are poor.

Let's not get personal, OK? An oil price of $100, and steady, would indeed hurt the lower income among us, as I said explicitly. But in terms of it meaning that people were starving or freezing, then no, it wouldn't mean that. So please don't accuse me of not thinking it's a big deal because (you assume) I personally would not be freezing or starving. I never said anything like what you imply, and I find the accusation painful.

The historic high oil price, adjusting for inflation, was $90US/barrel in 1980. Since then, we've become more efficient in how we use oil (see for the oil-to-GDP ratio over time), giving $100 oil now less of an overall impact than $90 oil had in 1980.

Also, let me stress again that I said that a price holding at around $100 would not be a cuase for concern, but that a price rising quickly through the $100 level would. An equilibrium at $100 wouldn't be comfortable for a lot of people, including the poor, but it wouldn't be nearly as bad as a market that was still tightening and seeking equilibrium at $100.

Sorry, Lou. I wish I could be as confident as you are that "lower income" people will not suffer unduly when oil reaches $100/a barrel, as it surely will.

So, to lighten it up a bit, here's what I myself think about $100/a barrel oil.

Click here now! and then click on Enter Site. Now, sing along....

Oh a mighty winds a blowin’, it’s kickin’ up the sand,
It’s blowin’ out a message to every woman, child and man
Yes a mighty winds a blowin’, cross the land and cross the sea,
It’s blowin’ peace and freedom, it’s blowin’ equality.
Yes, it’s blowin’ peace and freedom, it’s blowin’ you and meÂ…

From the song "A Mighty Wind" from the movie of the same name, directed by Christopher Guest, written by Christopher Guest and Eugene Levy.

Rajiv: Yes we agree. And here some data (EIA): oil consumption in India per 1 million people is 2000 bbl/day. The US domestic oil production is 26 000 bb/day per 1 million people. So the the US is really not dependent of foreign oil imports. The real problem is excessive consumption. If the US could cut its consumption to the level of its domestic production and the US imports (11.8 million bbl/day) could be diverted to India, the Indian consumption would be about 12 000 bbl/day per 1 million people or sixfold. Of course there will be less oil available after the Peak, but here we see where the real problem is.

Lou and Dave: The Peak Oil will hit first of all the poor, in the US and in the world. Thisreally is the problem. Look at the ASPO 2004 oil and liquids scenario. In 2050 the world will have as much oil production as in 1965. Per capita level would be where it was in the beginning of the 50's. Not that bad. But it will be really nasty if the high-energy societies and groups try to keep there share of consumption. This will mean extreme poverty and starving for the rest.