Unlike gluttonous American industry, Europe’s most profitable companies plan to make even more money by getting ahead of this whole peak oil trend, reports Der Spiegel. And it’s a damn good thing, because if everybody guzzled oil like Americans, we’d be even more screwed than we are now.

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Case in point:

If every person on Earth used as much energy as the average person in the United States, today’s known oil reserves would be exhausted within nine years.

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“Aha!” say the naysayers. “But haven’t I been hearing that America is on the verge of producing all the oil we’ll need?” You have — but not from anyone credible. As energy futurist Chris Nelder just outlined at Smartplanet, even if we could exploit every single resource the U.S. has, and to hell with the environmental consequences, we’d still run out in a decade or three and be right back where we started: running on empty, and facing economic collapse as our existing transportation, agricultural, and manufacturing infrastructure literally runs out of gas.