*shakes head* I don't buy it. The spiking oil prices were because of what people thought would happen... and the gas prices have since fallen as a symptom of a sick economy; they may have contributed to it, but they didn't drive it.
What goes up must come down in economic as well as physics, but it doesn't tend to stay down forever.
Some of the 2008 surge could be attributed to speculation and market psychology...but only some.
The wolf really is at the door.
Case in point: Mexico. Oil production in Mexico (the third-largest supplier of the United States, by the way) is plunging. http://www.hubbertpeak.com/MX/Cantarell.htm
So, we just turn around and buy oil from someone else, right? Problem is, the supply of "someone elses" is dwindling. Indonesia, for instance, went from being a net exporter of oil to a net importer: http://www.energybulletin.net/node/5320
How about the North Sea? Depletion has set in there, too:http://www.economist.com/world/britain/displaystory.cfm?story_id=11707772
And the Big Picture shows a resource that is being used far more rapidly than new supplies are being discovered, as this chart showing the net gap between discoveries and use shows:
Now, before someone accuses me of being a total Doomer, let me emphasize that I'm not saying we're going to run out of oil tomorrow, next week, next year, or even next decade. Even in 2050, commercially significant quantities of crude oil will still be available
. The problem is that we are running out of cheap
oil, and our civilization requires cheap oil in large amounts to function. What's going to happen between now and 2015 is that we're going to go from abundant, cheap oil, to at least moderately scarce, expensive oil. Civilization as it exists today, cannot survive on scarce, expensive oil.
And no, I'm not saying we're all going to die, or humanity is going to become extinct. What I am saying is that the way we live is about to undergo some very radical, indeed, downright painful changes. If I could sum up in one sentence what the 2010s are going to entail, it would be "the death (or at least drastic downsizing) of Big Everything." Those human institutions and endeavors that rely on the cheap transport of large numbers of people and goods across long distances, and the use of prodigious amounts of energy, are going to find themselves literally starved. Civil aviation is going to be among the first institutions to fold (it was about six months from death last year when oil hit $147 a barrel, and it still hasn't fully recovered). (If you have any dreams of flying around the world, I would suggest doing so sooner rather than later, as later may well not be an option.)