I just posted this information in "When Hybrids Will be Worth It" but thought it might be good for a new topic.
Scientific American (1996?, 1998?) and National Geographic (2004) have had great articles about the coming peak in world oil production. In 1956 a Shell geologist named Hubbert predicted that US oil production would peak in the early 1970s. It actually peaked in 1970 and has been declining ever since. Using his same methods, though updated with recent technologies, many other experts (12 teams I believe) predict that world oil production will peak between 2004 and 2010. I believe one group predicted 2020.
What that means is all the "cheap" oil will have been pumped out of the ground by then, and it will get progressively more expensive to get the rest out. Kazakhstan, Iraq, Iran and the United Arab Emirates have the "newest" wells and have yet to reach their peak production. Makes you kind of think twice as to why we started the Iraq war. And, if Seymour Hirsch's latest article about plans to invade Iran are true, we will not only spend more money on energy, we'll have to spend a lot more on security too.
Another problem that may be extremely important is that most experts don't believe anymore in the "estimated" oil reserves of the OPEC countries. Many think they are inflated by 40-100% because oil production of OPEC countries is based on how big your reserves are. Thus, many countries have inflated their reserves.
It is always cheaper to save energy by buying efficiency, rather than buying the energy. So, buy the most fuel efficient vehicle you can. As oil prices rise, your payback will be even greater.
From this very hybridcars.com web site, under "oil dependency", is this quote that I find amazing:
Quote: "Raise it [nationwide MPG] by 7.6 mpg, we eliminate one-hundred percent of our gulf oil imports into this country."
The ramifications of that are absolutely astounding when you think about it. And with only a 7.6 mpg increase.
that quote is truly stunning & i have passed it on to others when i can. and it's so achievable!
when i worked at a lighting company the word became apparent to me that during the California "energy" crisis <rip off but hold me back> energy conservation in California SAVED as much energy as 4 electric plants could have made! imagine if those concepts were applied across the country?
savings were thru LED lights at intersections, "twister" energy saver bulbs, turning off lights at night when you're gone, etc.
overall conservation in USA thru all the available means - electric - lighting - heating - cars & gas - could save enormous fuel.
"Ref Quote: "Raise it [nationwide MPG] by 7.6 mpg, we eliminate one-hundred percent of our gulf oil imports into this country."
Once any one understands what Peak Oil is and what are its implications, it should become clear that hybrid cars are NO solution to anything. Instead they are a diversion of both attention and resources. The reality is that we currently have all the cars we will ever need until the end of the oil age.
The equation is really very simple:
Peak oil= Peak cars (hybrid, fuel cell, EV or otherwise)
We are still a long way from the end of relatively cheap portable power.
Wish as we might the one person commute will likely be with all of us currently alive. Canada has three trillion barrels of expensive oil locked up in it's oil sands. We have more coal than the rest of the world and Adolf and his gang did a pretty good job of converting coal to motor fuel when push came to shove.
And we haven't even mentioned bio-fuels yet. I'm convinced we don't have to import a drop of energy to make our world go around.
In the UK they synthesize diesel fuel from natural gas. The fuel sells for the same as regular diesel, which is 4 dollars per gallon. On the plus side, the fuel is entirely sulfur free and relatively clean burning.
The Fischer Tropsch process is already being used in California to convert coal into gas and diesel. When gas in the US starts approaching 3.50 per gallon, it will be very competitive.
Cheap oil will end, but there will always be some kind of fuel to burn, at least for the near future. The real winners will be the automakers who can make the increased cost of fuel liveable for most people, the losers will be those companies that cannot provide these solutions.