Spread Reckoning: U.S. Suburbs Face Twin Perils of Climate Change and Peak Oil


"The peak is probably going to happen by 2030. To claim a later date, the researchers wrote, you have to start getting optimistic in your estimations of global oil supply. When we hit peak oil, it won't mean that gasoline will vanish overnight, or even in a few years. But it would most likely mean the end of cheap gasoline. You may not feel that gas is cheap when you're paying for a full tank. It's never cheap right then. Even when I first started driving, in the late 1990s, and paid less than a dollar per gallon, I still drove away from the pump feeling disgruntled. Today, in early 2011, I pay closer to $4 a gallon, but that gas is cheap, too."

"If you think about all of the parts of our lives that rely on cheap oil, it's easy to see how authors such as James Howard Kunstler can believe that peak oil will lead, unstoppably, to the collapse of modern, industrial civilization—where metros will descend into poverty and anarchy, and only independent small towns will be able to survive in a future that shares a lot of similarities with the nineteenth century. You don't even have to go that far, however, to be concerned about the impact of peak oil."

Before the Lights Go Out: Conquering the Energy Crisis Before It Conquers Us