U.K.-based weekly Economist exhaustively analyzes global oil situation

Market-lovin’ U.K. weekly The Economist has a cover package on oil this week. The major topic, of course, is the recent spike in oil prices. The grumpy Economist editors are bothered by what they consider some pervasive myths. First, “energy independence” is a chimera as long as we’re burning oil; oil is fungible and price hikes hit all consumers equally. Second, while China is growing quickly, it still represents a small sliver of global oil demand and likely will for the foreseeable future. Third, the major private oil companies, despite their current health, will be in trouble in the long term, because the big remaining oil reserves are in the hands of state-owned oil firms, mostly in the Middle East. Fourth, they argue, the world is not running out of oil — new technologies will enable increasingly efficient extraction for a long time to come. However, the mag advises policy makers and oil firms to move quickly to alternate energy sources, to cushion against oil shocks.