End of the Petroleum Joyride?
Could the petroleum joyride -- cheap, abundant oil that has sent the global economy whizzing along with the pedal to the metal and the AC blasting for decades -- be coming to an end?
Some observers of the oil industry think so. They predict that this year, maybe next -- almost certainly by the end of the decade -- the world's oil production, having grown exuberantly for more than a century, will peak and begin to decline.
And then it really will be all downhill. The price of oil will increase drastically. Major oil-consuming countries will experience crippling inflation, unemployment and economic instability. Princeton University geologist Kenneth S. Deffeyes predicts "a permanent state of oil shortage."
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