According to proponents of the so-called peak oil theory, we will one day run out of petroleum. Nevermind that there was once a “peak guano” theory referring to our harvesting of guano (litterally bird shit…). Recent increases in the price of an oil barrel has sparked a resurgence of this theory. However, production matters very little since we react to prices by either shifting progressively to new technologies or by consuming more efficiently.
So let us look at consumption of oil per person as illustrated in the graph below that I have made using data provided by the Energy Information Agency. It is interesting to note that drops in consumption occur after important surges in prices (the 1970s and the 2000s). In a sense, can “peak oil” really occur if we either find new and more efficient energy technologies or if we consume oil so efficiently that we look like a mosquito in front of a dozen olympic pools of blood?
Peak oil is a theory whose days have passed and ought to be burried behind the barn.