Peak oil already happened in America in the 1970s – however, the end date for using up the rest of the peak oil that’s still in existence globally is debatable. Some experts predict there will be no more crude oil by 2014 while others feel we have another 20-25 years left of oil consumption at the current rate we’re using it today. The true peak oil end date depends greatly on how fast we as a global community burn through what reserves are left and there’s no real telling how fast that will be right now as many factors such as population, climate change, and cultural lifestyle affect the rate of oil consumption. Still, 20-25 years in a best-case scenario for peak oil isn’t that long. I believe it’s time we start implementing a more eco-friendly alternative to oil consumption.
The statement in the other answer that anyone predicts there will be “no more” oil by 2014 – or any other year – is completely incorrect. Peak oil is the time at which a peak of production is reached, when half of all the oil available has been used. If there was a total of 2 trillion barrels, when the peak is reached we will have 1 trillion barrels remaining – hardly “used up.” Because the peak means demand will exceed supply, the price will go up a lot.
To answer the question, some say we have reached the global peak; global oil production has been about flat (a “plateau” rather than a peak) since about 2005. Most others say by the year 2020 or so. There are a few who would say it is as far out as 25 years, but almost no one takes that seriously.
See the first link for a few dozen previous answers. See the second link for useful analysis of the question.
Before answering the question of when “peak oil” is expected to occur, it is important to first lay out a clear definition of the concept of a resource peak. A peak is not the same as saying the resource will run out; in fact, there will always be some oil remaining, but the peak simply refers to the moment in time (which may look like a plateau if it occurs over the course of a number of years) at which it becomes impossible, whether for ecological, economic, or even purely physical reasons, to continue to increase (or humanity chooses to discontinue increasing) the global supply of oil production, and production begins to decrease.
Peaks in oil production have been observed in virtually all producing countries, including the United States in 1971. Shell Oil geologist M. King Hubbert initially predicted the United States would peak in 1970 and applied his methods to formalize a theory of resource peaking and depletion during the 1950’s to predict that the global peak in oil production would likely occur in the first decade or two of the twenty-first century. In 2005, a report commissioned by the U.S. Department of Energy and headed up by SAIC researcher Robert Hirsch, known as the “Hirsch Report,” surveyed and summarized estimates from other independent sources of the global peak date; the most common peak dates predicted were between 2005 and 2012, with few outliers (see citation #1). Since the second half of 2004, crude oil production worldwide has been within a very narrow band, and only marginal growth in liquid fuel production has been added, if any at all, through the addition of unconventional fuels such as tar sands, biofuels, and gas- and coal-to-liquids (see citation #2).
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