Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Peak Oil Peaks

What a difference a year can make. As they point out at Freakonomics, the speed at which events can turn media themes around is enough to give people whiplash. There were those who were nearly hysterical pushing this Peak Oil meme. Notes Stephen Dubner:

With oil prices falling by more than two-thirds last year before a slight rebound, the “peak oil” frenzy seems to have abated for now. Even its proponents must admit that high oil prices were driven in large part by a huge spike in demand (which has now fallen) and not just scarcity (whether real or sinisterly implied by those who hold oil reserves).

But even though the hysteria has died down, new technologies march on, quietly changing the rules of the debate (if, that is, there still were a debate).

Of course, while technology is changing what the supply side of the equation might look like, let's not forget about the coming changes in demand - like that 100 mpg car. Of the many things to worry about in the world, thanks to innovation, it's nice to be reminded that limited resources including oil isn't one of them.

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