I’ve been reading a couple of good (short) books on peak oil. The first is Beyond Oil: The View from Hubbert’s Peak. This presents a good description of Hubbert’s “Peak Oil” theory and why the author (Kenneth Deffeyes, a close friend and colleague of Hubbert) places peak oil at 2004.
Interestingly, one of the features of a system with excess capacity (e.g. OPEC) which gradually runs out of spare capacity, is that volatility greatly increases. This is a result from queueing theory, and is exactly what we’ve seen in energy prices in recent years. I aim to study this further.
The 2nd book is The End of Oil: The Decline of the Petroleum Economy and the Rise of a New Energy Order. The author, Paul Roberts, covers a similar topic and argues that the short-sighted nature of the US Political and economic system, mainly concerned with immediate profits and getting voted back into office, means that long term decisions such as mandating more efficient cars, are forever ‘put off’ in preference for short-term profits.