I hate to break it to the Peak Oil crowd but my idea of cheap oil is different than most people's so I'm of the opinion that we've been out of cheap oil for my entire life. That said, let's take a look at honest gasoline prices, which peaked in 1981 at an inflation-adjusted average price of $3.04 per gallon. Similarly, a barrel of crude peaked in late 1980 at an inflation adjusted cost of $88.85 per barrel, roughly double today's cost.
Speaking as a victim of the unending gas lines of the 1970's (TWICE) I am more than willing to pay the freight to get the petro to run my car. The alternative to expensive gas is government-mandated cheap gas that is only available on odd days to those with license plates that end in even numbers. And then you can only have five gallons.
I realize that oil is a finite resource but forecasts of imminent doom date back to 1874 when the Pennsylvania state geologist forecast that US oil supply would be gone in four years. All have been proven wrong, including the US Geological Survey in 1920 that estimated remaining oil worldwide at 60 billion barrels. By 1950 USGS had upped the estimate to 600 billion barrels. Today, oil shale alone will produce enough oil to provide 500 years worth of energy at current levels of consumption.
Just as science fiction writers fifty years ago couldn't foresee our intimate reliance on computers in our every day lives (and my favorite, that all cars would have air conditioning), we can't forecast exactly how our energy needs will be satisfied. But we can extrapolate from historical reality that as market forces work, alternative fuels and processes will emerge and eventually fossil fuels will become obsolete.
In other news:
Kathryn J puts one more wrinkle on her birthday cake. Kath has wrestled Sting Rays, had her picture taken with the Pope, guzzled ghastly white wine while comfortably ensconced in Clark's hot tub, and she's a Cubbie.