The Marketplace Reader

Adapting to a bleak oil crunch scenario

Richard Core Jul 22, 2008

If you haven’t already, it may be time to start some long-term planning on lifestyle changes to accommodate the continuing escalation of gas prices. That’s the message I got from Elizabeth Douglass’ story in the Los Angeles Times today: “Why the oil crunch may grow worse.”

In five years, demand for oil may exceed 94 million barrels a day and continue rising, spurred by growth in China and India, the International Energy Agency estimates. Experts put daily global production at between 82 million and 86 million barrels, and even the most optimistic oil authorities can’t see production keeping up with demand without a big boost from unconventional sources such as Canada’s vast oil sands or U.S. oil shale. Getting crude from such sources is more difficult, expensive and environmentally harmful.

The story includes a commute calculator to help you estimate your driving costs. Of course, even the cost of taking public transportation is increasing — which can make doing the math on the hit to your wallet a bit of a challenge. The American Public Transportation Association has a calculator that helps. I tried it and it says, at current costs, I’ll save around $1,200 in a year by sticking with my new routine of taking the L.A. subway and buses.

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