I should know better than to stick my nose into this, but - being me - I'm gonna do it.
I've been around a lot longer than many posters here...and I heard this SAME
tripe in the 1970s. We're running out of oil; we're gonna haveta cut back; we'd better get used to walking and eating grass out in the city park...yada yada yada.
Point One: We are NOT running out of oil. Major discoveries THIS YEAR were announced under the Dakotas and Colorado; with new "horizontal drilling" techniques these finds could be recovered with a minimum of impact. Then there's that oil safely locked up in ANWR by the eco-nuts...and contrary to popular opinion, ANWR does NOT look like Yellowstone or even Juneau. It's tundra
- frozen desert.
The Brazilians are launching a major effort to recover a large pool that was inaccessable previously.
Add to this, geologists are re-thinking theories on how oil was FORMED in the first place. One theory, which seems to be borne out by these new finds, is that oil generation deep within the earth is a CONTINUAL process - not something that happened once long ago.
Oil may or may not be finite, but there's plenty to carry us through another couple of generations at least.
Point Two: This crisis is POLITICAL, not scientific or geological. There is oil in many locations; yet we WILL NOT use or recover our OWN oil, relying on Middle East sources.
This gives the OPEC cartel ENORMOUS power - which they are now using.
Unlike the Western nations, OPEC nations mostly do not HAVE other sources of revenue or industry. They are milking this for all it's worth - but if it somehow collapses, they will have NOTHING.
If we started drilling in ANWR it would be ten years before oil hit the market, true. But it wouldn't be that long for the OPEC nations to panic; see the threat, and roll back prices and flood the market.
Because the oil they're selling for $120 a barrel costs them less than a dollar a barrel to recover.
This is EXACTLY what happened in the 1980s - the OPEC members saw that the United States was getting SERIOUS about drilling - and cut prices and increased production.
These Arab Oil Ministers today, they watch us clown around with ethanol and they laugh. But if we started serious drilling, they'd mess their bathrobes.
So...this "crisis" is going to continue until we get the 'nads to call this crash-ethanol program for what it is, a loser, and get serious about energy needs.