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The "Peak Car" theory says U.S. citizens will buy fewer cars

Compared with the rest of the world, the U.S. has long been known as the gas guzzler country--the nation of the widest roads, largest vehicles and the least amount of reliable mass transit for the geography. That image could be changing, according to a new study that says driving in the U.S. has already peaked and will decline.

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Here's how you make friends and influence people: say that politicians and industry experts have their "heads in the sand" when it comes to understanding how much oil is left in the world. That's what Britain's former chief scientist, Sir David King, said recently, adding that people with a "vested interest" in overstating how much easy-to-access crude is left in the ground do so, and that politicians simply accept their numbers. "That's what governments want to hear and that's what they

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Wherever you weigh in on the peak oil debate, most Americans tend to agree that less foreign oil is in our best interests. The problem, of course, is that we can't make all the oil we need: 21 million barrels per day, give or take. We have a capacity of about 5 million barrels per day in the U.S., so the remainder comes in through Canada, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria and Venezuela.

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The U.S. military thinks we're one step closer to peak oil, the point at which oil demand will forever outstrip oil supply, and therefore we're one step closer to fighting over the last rusting cans of gasoline like so many scraps of meat. On the plus side, we're also one step closer to finally equipping our cars with superchargers and massive gas tanks rigged with explosives a la Mad Max and his archetypal peak-oil sled, "the last of the V-8 Interceptors."

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Some new voices pronouncing predictions of peak oil have distinctly Arabic accents. Researchers from the University of Kuwait with the Kuwait Oil Company have published a new study titled Forecasting World Crude Oil Production Using Multicyclic Hubbert Model (abstract here) that names 2014 as the fateful year when conventional crude oil production will peak. That's pretty close to the 2015 date chosen by Sir Branson and his taskforce pals.

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Sir Richard Branson has kicked around quite a few green transportation projects over the years – he loved then hated biofuels for cars (some biofuel production methodss, at least), his Virgin Airlines used biofuels to fly from London to Amsterdam and he talked to Saab – but now we might be getting a little window into why he's put so much effort into finding gasoline alternatives.

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A doctoral dissertation by Fredrik Robelius of the Uppsala University in Sweden contends that global oil production will reach its peak yield as early as next year before falling into decline. The thesis, which attempts to estimate the largest oil fields' future production, is based on Robelius's investigation of historical oil production, new oil field discovery and global reserves. The world's largest, or giant, oil fields number less than one percent of all fields but account for over 60 perc

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Over at the OilDrum.com there is an interesting and potentially disturbing look at Saudi oil production in 2006. Looking at data from a number or different sources (where the exact numbers vary but the trend is definitely the same), crude oil production in Saudi Arabia dropped eight percent in the past year. Although this is not the first time their output has dipped, one interesting graph shows oil production and the number of drilling rigs operating since 2000. The amount of oil pumped has rem

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Lithium ion battery technology is all the rage when talking about future vehicle propulsion systems. Everybody wants lithium ion batteries because so far they are the only electro-chemical batteries devised that come close to providing the energy density necessary to be truly useful for passenger vehicles. There are lots of promising variations that may be able to improve the lifespan and chargeability of such cells, but one question has remained unasked. At least until now. The ability of the e

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At a conference today in Vienna sponsored by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, Abdallah S. Jum'ah, president and CEO of the state-owned Saudi Arabian Oil Company (Aramco), proclaimed that the world has only consumed about 18 percent of its total crude oil supply. He said that with a 4.5 trillion barrel global potential, there is enough to maintain current consumption levels for 140 years.

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