Blogger Kevin Drum at The Washington Monthly has a well-written, informative, and balanced set of posts of the so-called "Peak Oil" theory — the idea that, while the world may not be running out of oil, exactly, we may be fairly close to the practical limit of how much oil can be squeezed out of the ground in any given year.  After the peak, goes the theory, oil production gradually declines, no matter how high the price might go. 

(By the way, oil production in the United States peaked in 1970.  Even with new production in Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico, and billions of dollars invested in domestic oil production since then, the US still produces about a third less oil per year than it did at the peak.  The Peak Oil theory is basically the hypothesis that the entire world is about to do the same thing that the US did in 1970 — reach a physical maximum of production, after which oil supplies gradually and continually decline.)

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I’ve posted on the topic before, and have nothing new to add.  But I think it’s definitely something worth familiarizing yourself with — at a minimum, to put the recent rash of media stories on the subject in context.  The Washington Monthly series is a pretty good place to start.

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