Post Peak Iberia

Updated 13-06-2008 at 19h00 (GMT+01h00).

It all started in Spain, it quickly spread to Portugal and southern France. Lorry drivers are on the streets and on roads protesting against high fuel prices and bringing normal day life to a stand still.

Spanish lorry drivers blocking main access roads to Madrid.
This is a crosspost from the European Tribune.

[Update IV : 13-06-2008 19h00]

Spotty shortages of fresh goods, petrol and diesel are still enduring. This morning the radio reported that the route connections between Algarve and Andalucía were still being blocked, disrupting fuel supplies to the former region. In Spain fresh goods are still a problem in some supermarkets, with picket lines now blockading access to central warehouses that supply retailers. It is likely that these products will see price hikes during the following days, as supply falls from normal levels.

Up to this fifth day of strike there have been more than 1000 protesters detained by the police and 600 others have been fined for ill driving practices. But on the overall order seems to have been restored and life appears to coming back to normal for the regular citizen.

With 800 thousand people deciding the fate of almost 500 million, the news on the hauliers strike are fading away into background noise. Strikers tiredness and lack of interest by the media will probably give the fatal blow to the protest, by Monday we'll know for sure.

Tonight Europe goes to bed with another institutional crisis in its hands. The big difference this time is that Peak Oil and the associated economic hardship won't wait.

[Update III : 12-06-2008 17h00]

Life is slowly coming back to normal in Spain. A deal was struck between government and representatives of the vast majority of hauliers during last nigh, granting several fiscal and social benefits to the industry, but leaving diesel taxes untouched. The hauliers' associations behind the blockade reunited today after lunch and rejected the government's proposals, vowing to continue protests (the main claim for a minimum service fare remains unattended). Check striker's demands and the government's offers [hat tip Migeru].

The police is on the roads, clearing blockaded routes and facing the picket lines all around the country; there have been insistent reports of arrests throughout the day. Escort is being provided by the police to hauliers that request so, protecting lorries from raging blockaders. There's an all round improvement in traffic. Today's reported actions have been mainly of slow marches that didn't had much impact on the returning normality.

Stores are getting shipments again, although still rationing some high demand fresh goods. Factories are slowly coming back to operation, even if partially, and fuel is reaching filling stations again.

For tomorrow the Spanish association of taxi drivers is calling for a national strike, claiming a fare hike of at least 3 euro cents per kilometre. Negotiations will take place still today to avoid the stoppage.

[Update II : 12-06-2008 08h30]

A few hours ago the Portuguese government yielded, striking a deal with protesting hauliers. While taxes on diesel remain in place, a package of measures was presented by the government that includes reduced toll fares and income tax exemptions, representing a substantial subsidy to the industry. Economic activities non dependent on Spanish trade routes should go back to normal in the next 48 hours.

Meanwhile in Spain a deal has been struck with some hauliers organizations, but not with those in action. Reports of violence are increasing, pierced tires, broken wind shields, cargoes destroyed; yesterday some lorries were set in fire during the night, resulting in serious burns on at least one driver asleep inside. The Spanish government is calling for “cogent” action by police forces against the picket lines.

Click for more pictures of the blockade in Spain

There are several hundred lorries stranded in Spain, many of them Portuguese. Those holding fresh cargoes are running out of fuel to maintain their goods. Speaking to the media some of the drivers stranded considered leaving their lorries on the road and simply return home by other means.

Elsewhere, Irish fishermen are suspending the blockade to the ports of Cork and Waterford. Belgian drivers are planning action against high fuel prices for the 19th and 20th of the month, considering a blockade of Brussels [hat tip Migeru].

[Update I : 11-06-2008 21h00]

Lisbon ran out of diesel during the afternoon and petrol will run out still today. Milk, vegetables and fruit are becoming very scarce in stores.

Towing lorry operators have also paralysed south of the Tagus, impairing all on road assistance to motorists. Cars with engine problems are piling up on the road sides all across Alentejo and Algarve.

Farmers and fishermen were also in protest today in Spain, setting demonstrations in several cities of the country. TVE had some sad pictures to show today, with confrontations between the police and demonstrators resulting in numerous injured. At least Madrid is also feeling the same kind of shortages in supermarkets as in Lisbon; fresh meat is becoming an especially scarce product.

High oil prices are impairing one of the most important industries in Europe, road freight transport. Present diesel prices (of which about 60% are taxes) are eating the profit margins of lorry owners. Last Friday a strike started in Spain claiming for help from the government, with some 12 000 transport companies adhering.

During the weekend in Portugal lorry owners called a strike at a national meeting with the main intention of joining the announced actions by the Spanish unions. But at the same time the employed lorry driver's Union was (and still is) in negotiations with the Portuguese government. The Union called on its members to not go on strike so negotiations could continue. Feeling isolated the lorry owners transformed the strike into a blockade.

These owners are mainly small businessmen that operate with their own lorry, the big companies don't seem to be involved. Less than one fourth of the country's drivers are in the protest but the blockade is affecting most of them, the main connections to Spain have been blocked as so the major oil products storage facilities. The objective is clear: bringing the country to a halt.

In many blocking spots protesters are menacing to stone those who may try to break it. Old tyres have been set to fire at road junctions and boarder crossings.

A blockade picket in Portugal.

In Spain mobilization seems to be more deeper, yesterday several access roads to Madrid were blocked. As here, main border routes are being blocked, accumulating lorries in a kind of no man's land. In some places where bolder drivers tried to break the blockade the protesters managed to halt lorries and dumped their cargo. There are news of roads blocked also in the northern side of the Pyrenees, with French protesters mobilizing at least as far as Bordeaux.

Video from Reuters.

Yesterday things heated up between protesting drivers and those eager to deliver their cargoes. One protester was killed in Alcanena, Portugal when a driver tried to break a blockade at an important freight route. Hours later a similar situation happened in Granada, Spain when a van hit a blocking picket also killing one protester. A video digest of Tuesday's protests can be found at Euronews.

From a round on the media these are the main impacts to normal life:

  • Traffic jams are affecting visibly commuter traffic in Spain with Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia being hardest hit.

  • The National Guard has been escorting oil products convoys both to Madrid and Lisbon, densely populated areas that could rapidly dry out of fuel. This morning many filling stations in the northern suburbs of Lisbon had already ran out of diesel and 95 octane petrol.

  • Diesel especially is becoming scarce in many filling stations all across the Peninsula. The Algarve seems to be on of the most hit regions, to where many people travelled taking the chance of an extended weekend to spend a few days in the southern warm shores.

  • Many factories are closing operations for lack of supply of all varieties of goods. Car factories, an important sector in the Peninsula, are already paralysing, lacking parts to continue operations.

  • Fresh goods are disappearing from the supermarket shelves. Yesterday fresh fish was already impossible to find.

  • Milk will be unavailable in less than two days. Producers and storage facilities are dumping milk they can't send to the markets.

  • Poultry producers are running out of feedstock. A massive die off could take place if new supplies don't arrive in the next few days

  • Fuel supplies were suspended at the Lisbon airport, but up to the moment no flights have been cancelled. Air line companies have been filling their aircrafts at other airports in Oporto and Funchal.

Today other states will join the protest. Irish fishermen are set to blockade Cork's port and Scottish lorry drivers will take the road from Glasgow to Edinburgh on a slow pace, disrupting traffic in Scotland's most transited highway.

How all these actions can impact oil production in Saudi or Russia is hard to envision. Governments will either capitulate and reduce taxes (something that up to now no one seems willing to do) or recur to force and send the guard and the police against the drivers. No option is pleasant, and none will bring the international oil market back into balance.

I can't help feeling that for road transport these are the last breaths of a dying industry.

Previously at TOD:E: Post Peak Italy.

Luis mentioned by email that he may not be able to get back home to answer comments. Portugal beat Czech republic tonight 3-1 in the European Soccer championships - and apparently there's no beer in the stores and no gas in the gas stations.

Nothing for it then than to walk to the beach and watch the volleyball:-)

Fire away - this is beginning of the new age.


PS - Czech posters are most welcome here to comment upon the energy situation in Czech - but we'd prefer you to use Ingilish what Beckam speiks.

OMG! No gas I can handle. But no beer and no soccer?! This is truly the end of times.
Disclaimer, I'm Brazilian.
Seriously though, it sounds like the times they really are a changing. I have friends and relatives living in Portugal and Germany and until very recently they looked at me a little strange when I would mention peak oil. I'm beginning to sense a small shift in their reaction to what I have been saying.
However it doesn't put me in the mood to say I told you so.

Czech poster here, but sorry, Inglish not spoken :) The energy situation is stable, though fuel prices are very high, especially diesel. No disruptions or strikes so far.

This sounds quite serious, especially with protestors getting killed.

I know I'm a long way away but this is the first I've heard of it in Australia. I just double checked the news sites I normally go to and I've only found one item low down on the list. I would have thought it was of more interest, even here.

Best of luck

I think these events are important for people start to realize how crucially vital the transport network is. How dependent we are on oil. People have to star to open their eyes and star making demands to goverments to stop this dependence.
In Portugal the strike lasted for three days and there was ruptures in some products... imagine if this condition lasted for 15 days. The country would literally stop.

I suggest reading the 79 (and counting) comments on the European Tribune thread. I have contributed 4 translations of Spanish news items from El Pais, the country's largest newspapers.

First, two claims by the government to have cleared the blockades already yesterday (at the price of 71 arrests and over 6000 police escorts to trucks not taking part in the stoppage):

* [Spain's Interior Minister] Rubalcaba guarantees basic supplies and roads open to traffic. yesterday, and
* Normality on the roads and 71 arrested truckers on the fourth day of stoppages today.

Also, the strikers' demands and the government's offers.

This is why I think shortages from allocation problems not prices will be what hobbles our society post peak.

This event was caused by a shortage of cheap diesel. The strike is one shortage outcome others are possible.
This is a mild precursor to what we will see over the next two years. Demand destruction is not about a gradual
increase in prices with the poor meekly riding bicycles it will be violent and bloody.

It isn't just Spain and Portugal.

My cruise ship was blocked from entering two French Ports last week by striking fishermen and truck drivers.

The UK is likely going to be hit just as bad, as today we enter the second day of a national Shell tanker drivers strike - other drivers are refuing to cross picket lines as well it seems. As usual, MSM news is sparse.

Instead of telling the truth about oil the UK Government (for one) will likely end up using military force against their own citizens - and they complain about Zimbabwe!

Here is the situation in the UK:

the Government instructed police forces to break up any picket lines that threatened to prevent tankers from leaving or entering fuel depots.
Emergency powers to order petrol rationing will come into force on Monday if the strike threatens to grow out of control.

As I recall, didn't PM Tony Blair do this with the military to the people a few years back?

They tend to be a lot tougher on strikers here than on the continent - although they don't exactly beat them up, the military are used extensively to move supplies and the police to hold back picket lines - I doubt the tanker drivers have much sympathy, according to the BBC anyway - they earn too much.
The lorry drivers are a different matter.

I agree. How one can be Peak Oil aware and slow crash.... that is 20 - 50 - 100 beyond me. That druid guy must be smoking some QP!

There are going to be 3 crucial dates as I see it:
T1 - was May 2008 when CNBC etc first made PO mainstream
T2 - when everyone realises BAU is over
T3 - when electricity and petrol/diesel are no more.

People don't realize how 'big' the world has become. And how fragile.

This is actually quite sad. The populace of these countries, as in most others, are ill informed as to what underlies the basic problem. This is a classic example of how widespread education cannot only save money (= a form of energy) but also lives. Governments that have purposely withheld information will now reap what they have sown, widespread ignoraance. Of course the people will demand government assistance, of course they will see oil companies and OPEC cartels as the evil perpetrators of these high prices and/or shortages. It's a little late in the game to be educating strikers and soon-to-be rioters about the harsh realities of finite resources on a rock spinning in the black void of space.

of course they will see oil companies and OPEC cartels as the evil perpetrators of these high prices and/or shortages.

As I've posted before you have the US DOJ vs BP on propane and the gas price fixing this week in Canada. Not to mention other price fixing in the past.

Why should consumers see this time as different?

Looks like the Euronews links have been pulled, they just 404 now


Links to other non-news euro trivia still work.

For more of a world overview

"I can't help feeling that for road transport these are the last breaths of a dying industry."

Of course, many Americans are completely confused by this news. They have been told again and again by our mainstream media and by so called energy "experts" that Europe was a rail centered continent, that it was America that relied on highway transportion for goods.

Of course if anyone had bothered to have taken a look at lorry sales and Diesel sales in the Euro zone they would have known better.

The immediate crisis is essentially a labor unrest issue and must be handled that way, but the interesting part will come afterward.

Europe now knows that it is hostage to it's haulage industry, and if the haulage industry sees the absoluteness of their power in this action, they will know it too. The danger then will not be only fuel related, but a continent that will be in service to it's haulage industry, a very dangerous situation for the European economy.

Let us turn for a second to the OPEC oil suppliers. The Peak oil community is betting that they are unable to increase production. If this is so, then they have no regrets and no decisions to make. They are simply trying to retain control and income for as long as possible.

But if OPEC has been simply restraining capital investment in production increases and letting the price run to it's maximum possible point without allowing instability in the oil markets, they have obviously misjudged badly. Europe will now have no choice. They must reduce the transport of goods by means of lorry to the absolute minimum and begin a process of increased fuel diversity away from oil by means of alternative fuels, hybrid drive lorries and any other method they can can conceive and utilize.

Luis closed the key post with the line,
"I can't help feeling that for road transport these are the last breaths of a dying industry." In that he is correct. Even over the objections of the oil and lorry transport industries, Europe will now begin the most radical program in it's history to reduce the use of fossil fuels and in particular crude oil in it's transport system. There simply is no other choice. America, Japan and China would do well to coordinate and begin a similiar program.


In the UK at least they will use the army to move the petrol tankers if they have to.
They have done it before.

The squaddies will of course, not be working for £40,000 p.a. About 1/2 that??

Nope, more like a third.
In e-mails to the BBC sympathy for the tanker drivers was rare, except form other tanker drivers.
The guys who are really suffering are other lorry drivers, not the tanker drivers,where fuel costs are putting them out of business, and now they have to cope with no fuel at all.
In this country the Government also allows foreign drivers to fuel up on cheaper diesel, as the tax is lower abroad, then come here to put our guys out of business.
Unemployment by Government fiat.

I dont understand why the governments are not subsidising fuel for hauliers and transport firms. If they are aware of the PO situation then surely they must realise if they dont back up the road transport system things will colapse very quickly? You only have to look back to the year 2000 fuel protests in Britain to see how fast things will fall apart if they dont.

In the UK at least all the government would have to do would be to reduce their tax to the same level as other European countries to avoid bankrupting our hauliers.
The Shell guys strike is about money, not fuel prices - they don't pay for it.

I don't think the correct approach to wean ourselves off oil is to subsidize its consumption. Some governments such as Indonesia are already in big trouble due to this.

Ideally, higher diesel prices should be transferred into higher haulage fees, thus creating a shift towards more local production as well as shifting transportation more towards less oil-intensive methods such as rail or shipping by sea.

Is this how revolutions start?

This does have the look of 'the straw that broke the camel's back'.
though i have been wondering how long this would start elsewhere in other nations like where i live in the united states, all i have come up with is the price would have to go up a few more bucks..

" I've posted before you have the US DOJ vs BP on propane and the gas price fixing this week in Canada. Not to mention other price fixing in the past.

Why should consumers see this time as different?"

Eric, this is kinda my point. They won't see any difference because they're ignorant of the underlying factors. And "they" includes a lot of folks, like most government officials. Unless you're studying oil or the general topic of natural resources, ecology, and related areas, Peak Oil, Peak Everything, is relatively new, if even known. Two signs for me as to how clueless the US remains in this: (a) the US Congress drags the Big Oil Execs in for a grilling on rising prices, as if they were still on control of these resources, like in the "good old days" (circa 1960s) before resource nationalism; (b) my college-educated friends bashing the same oil companies over rising gas prices. They simply don't know how the fossil fuel system currently works (I don't understand it completely, either) but as a geologist that studies resources for a living, and reads TOD and ASPO regularly, I'm a bit more clued.

As former oil company execs, one would have expected that our President and VP would have done more to educate the populace than Bush's simple declaration that "America is addicted to oil". Given that assessment, then is it logical for the diagnosing doctor to prescribe more of the drug? Usually, one cuts back upon the drug and prescribes substitutes, that while not nearly as potent, allow the addict to more gently overcome their habit, thus saving their life for more useful things.

Dr. Bush has prescribed a substitute: ethanol. But the patient doesn't like it very much unless he happens to live in the Midwest.
The addict still demands the real drug: oil.

The addict still demands the real drug: oil.

So does the guy who grows the corn. Or have you weaned your tractors off of diesel?

Much needs to be done to divert cargo to electrified rail but road transport will still be needed from rail to door.
Alternative fuels for road transport will have to be developed if the whole system is not to break down and descend into anarchy.LNG is the best replacement fuel in the relatively short term but requires a lot of infrastructure.
In Europe with the heavy fuel tax burden there is probably some scope for selective tax reduction to placate the "bruvvers".
But this will be a bandaid at best.Unless governments and private industry get together to develop a workable short and long range plan on this there will be a meltdown of the whole system.

Not much sign of that planning happening,I'm afraid.The "leadership" seem to be doing a Nero.

Electric goods vehicles are coming on well.
Here is what Sainsbury is doing:
English electric trucks heading to America | Diesel Progress North American Edition | Find Articles at

The same people make a 12.5 ton truck too.
Not exactly articulated lorry scale, but decent enough delivery vehicles.

Is there suddenly a huge increase in supply of LNG? My understanding is that LNG prices will be rapidly rising in the next 3-6 months...

Another read that makes me doubt PO is a pressing problem; that things may very well settle down in the next year or two…

Story from “The Atlanta Journel-Constitution”, 13th June, 2008 (last three questions).
Questions to Stuart Schweitzer (MD, JP Morgan) and William Fisher (geologist, University of Texas).

AJC: Have we reached peak oil? Are we close?
Fisher: The idea of peak oil — that we are running out of oil — is not a cogent scientific argument. There are assumptions behind peak oil. You have to know that you are halfway through [all the world's oil]. To know you are halfway, you'd have to know how much oil is out there. And we don't know. The estimates vary by a factor of three.
The resource base around the world is pretty substantial. And how much you are converting to supply depends on the investment made. We know oil is finite. We will peak on oil production one of these days. But that won't be from physical factors. It will be because we are moving to say, a hydrogen economy.
Schweitzer: Non-OPEC supply has leveled off. There has been a decline in places — Mexico, the North Sea — and Russia, too, has had its challenges. Even within OPEC, it's hard to say what limitations OPEC may be encountering.
During the 1980s [after prices rose], demand contracted and prices collapsed. OPEC knows those lessons. I would expect that if it is within their power, they would prefer not to see prices go ever-upward.
The analysis I've seen suggests that ... Saudi Arabia is bringing on a significant new field in a year or so.

AJC: What would it take to convince you that you are wrong about peak oil?
Fisher: You'd have to go into a persistent decline of oil production for a couple of years, like the "peakers" say: 6 to 8 percent a year. If I saw that, I'd stand up and salute.
Schweitzer: I think markets work. We have had to adapt. What makes the rise in oil prices so disconcerting is the suddenness, without enough time for people to adapt.
I am not a believer in peak oil. I am a believer in the ability of markets to help the economy to adjust, but that doesn't mean that the adjustment will be painless.

AJC: Which is more likely a year from now: oil down $70, to $55 a barrel, or up $70, to $185?
Fisher: Absolutely nobody knows what is going to happen to oil prices. There are so many dependencies out there.
But there are new projects coming that will add 12 to 15 million barrels per day in additional capacity in the next few years. And some will be coming online to increase production in the next five or 10 years.
The amount of new projects coming online should be able to handle demand ... and might even exceed demand — depending on how much [a higher price] dampens demand.
Schweitzer: To my eye, oil prices have now reached levels they are unlikely to hold for the next year. I think that we'll see some pullback in prices.
I think that oil prices have reached a level that will extract more pain than the economy can withstand. We may very well expect a pullback in demand as economic activity slows further.
It's all a matter of degree. I would not expect prices to fall back to the levels of a year ago. I don't expect them to fall sharply.
Unless there comes to be a lot more supply or a lot more conservation — especially in the United States — I just don't see the supply-demand balance improving back to the "good old days" of $60-a-barrel oil.

Liar, liar, pants on fire? Or honest opinions?
Damned if I know!

Regards, Matt B, fence-sitter

The idea of peak oil — that we are running out of oil — is not a cogent scientific argument

It is not what peak oil is about either!

Peak oil is about the FLOW RATE of oil and it's price - there are trillions of barrels of oil left in the world, nobody knows how much but it isn't going to run out any time soon - the amount left has very little to do with peak oil. Anybody who gives the (unknown amount of) reserves as an argument against peak oil typically doesn't understand.

Nobody knows what the future will be, and oil field data is very poor - the only thing you know for sure is the price you pay for gasoline - is it up substantially, over time and as a percentage of income, like the 'Peak Oilers' predict?

We will only know peak oil is true by looking in the 'rear view mirror' - for BAU the world needs to consume ~2% more oil each year, so looking back, has it? No, according to the available statistics, for the last 4.5 years or so production has been FLAT and 'net exports' are actually down - evidence that all is not quite usual at all, >700 million barrels have not been produced in spite of the price rise from ~$40 to ~$140 during the same period.

Once producers have paid for a 3 inch straw to extract the oil they have to wait for it to slowly produce oil until they have recouped their money - the oil companies need to make a profit. Most of the cheap straws have already been put in place, only expensive ones are left to do.

Peak oil is about the end of cheap oil (because no adequate alternatives are available), and then the consequences of an ongoing decline in demand as it's cost rises as a proportion of income and people can't afford to buy as much any more.

Something to bear in mind - The price of crude oil is now up about 1300% in just 9 years or so - and accelerating! ... Is this usual?

To add to the points that xeroid makes, there is another more pressing problem: The location of the remaining oil.

Wherever the supposed trillions of barrels of oil are, they do not seem to be inside the borders of the major consuming regions of North America (excluding for the moment unconventional oil), Europe, Japan or China.

What this means is that the oil consuming nations face a massive loss of capital in the purchasing of needed liquid fuels.

In the case of the U.S., the estimates are that at current prices we are exporting some 600 billion U.S. dollars per year for oil alone. This does not count the cost of the Iraq war, which many view as directly oil related and which now costs easily another 300 billion or so per year now, factoring in the more expensive oil and materials costs incurred with the rise in commodities prices worldwide. What this means is that the U.S. is spending a trillion dollars plus per year COMPOUNDED in the funding of it's oil needs and related war. That is more money exported per year than the U.S. mounted in debt in it's entire first 204 years of existance. All this at the same time it faces an aging baby boomer generation needing increased health care and social services.

The fact is, even if trillions and trillions of barrels of oil are "out there" the U.S. will be bankrupted in trying to get it. I am certain that Europe and Japan are in no better situation, with the exception that they are not funding an expensive and long lasting military occupation.

On non-conventional oil, the flow rates are even slower and the costs even higher. There is no concievable way that the tar sand oil can be economically extracted over the long term by the current method of digging it out. If a viable method of in-situ extraction such as the Toe to Heel Injection method or some similiar advance can be made, that would change everything, but we just don't know yet. The shale oil can only be viably extracted by possibly one known method right now, and that is by placement of nuclear reactors in the area. I think it will be done at some point by the military, and they will retain the extracted liquid fuel for the operation of jet aircraft and other high power military vehicles which MUST have a dense liquid fuel.

So back to the main point. It really doesn't matter whether the oil is out there or not. The developed nations will run out of money to buy it long before the world "runs out" of oil. The renewable alternatives such as solar, wind, geothermal and tidal energy, while dismissed by everyone in the fossil fuel industry as "marginal" are in the end the only way forward to avoid complete bankruptcy.


I understand what you're saying (scary! No wonder Average Joes and Janes, even those who suddenly realise crude is finite, don't want to know about the details!).

I guess, also, the extra 200,000 people introduced into the system every day for the next few decades (to get to the touted 9 billion or so population limit) won't help matters either.

Matt B, restless sleeper

Probably should delete my reply to xeroid.

Thanks, xeroid.

So what you're saying is, if oil stays under $200 a barrel (a price which may prove manageable for most consumers) for the next twenty years or more (thinking Canadian tar sands, where the environment seems to be come second, the vast majority of consumers around the world couldn't care less what goes on in Canada, truck drivers alone earn six-figure salaries and a theoretical 60 million barrels a day can be produced), peak oil may be a ways off yet?

That, if the so-called expensive oil is "still affordable" - that is, we Average Joes and Janes, though we may stop buying SUVs, will keep filling up regardless (and keep purchasing more expensive groceries and the rest) - peak oil may never actually arrive? Just a long, sustained plateau till it runs out (the so-called "cliff"), or something better comes along?

As it stands, surely the price of a barrel can't keep "accelerating" for much longer! Even energy has a dollar limit!

Matt B from Australia

At the moment the price of oil is rising to encourage some people not to increase their usage - watch the news for where rioting is occuring in the world to see who it is affecting severely - hope that it isn't you.

A 'world' peak has different implications depending on where you live - and a peak will happen eventually since crude oil isn't infinite.

If you live in an oil 'net exporting' country you may never have had it so good - fast economic growth for a few years at least.

If you live in an oil 'net importing' country and you can't find adequate alternatives to oil then, to keep economic BAU, you will need to find something to export that the 'net exporters' need or take the oil by force - currently many nations are running up unsustainable deficits, but eventually (within a generation?) you will have to live without any conventional crude oil. An adequate alternative will have to get cheaper year after year after year - just like crude oil did until about 9 years ago.

Overall, even if we have an ongoing production plateau, rather than an outright peak, 'net importers' will still have to consume less each year because of the implications of the Export Land Model (ELM) - at the moment there aren't adequate alternatives to oil for transport (peak oil is primarily a transport problem) so it could be that using less will result in outright economic contraction, not the BAU expansion - if so this will have serious adverse implications (if it isn't already!) for things like real interest rates, savings and pensions. The world banking system MUST have growth to function correctly - since we don't live in an infinite world at some stage growth will stop, but who knows when?