End of Cheap Oil
You wouldn't know it from the hulking SUVs and traffic-clogged freeways of the United States, but we're in the twilight of plentiful oil. There's no global shortage yet; far from it. The world can still produce so much crude that the current price of about $30 for a 42-gallon barrel would plummet if the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) did not limit production. This abundance of oil means, for now, that oil is cheap. In the United States, where gasoline taxes average 43 cents a gallon (instead of dollars, as in Europe and Japan), a gallon of gasoline can be cheaper than a bottle of waterâmaking it too cheap for most people to bother conserving. While oil demand is up everywhere, the U.S. remains the king of consumers, slurping up a quarter of the world's oilâabout three gallons a person every dayâeven though it has just 5 percent of the population.
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