Alternatives Drive the Peak of Oil Demand

Peak oil was supposed to be about oil's scarcity and it devastating economic impact as prices shot through the roof. But oil demand has been falling in developed countries, for over a decade in some cases, and Fool.com contributor Travis Hoium thinks that a peak in global demand is around the corner. Erin Miller sat down with Travis to see what's driving the change. 

One of the drivers in the decline in oil usage is alternatives like electric vehicles. The Motley Fool answers all the question you have and more about this market and its leader, Tesla Motors, in our most in-depth Tesla research available for smart investors like you. Thousands have already claimed their own premium ticker coverage, and you can gain instant access to your own by clicking here now.


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  • Report this Comment On April 12, 2013, at 7:51 PM, stumorr wrote:

    Peak oil theory doesn't focus on the supply side, it focusses on production, period. If price is not a concern, there are enormous quantities of oil in the earth's crust, more than we could use for centuries. However, price is quite obviously a concern. There's eventually a balance between the price of oil and what people can afford. I also see no discussion here about the role that an extremely sluggish economy has on oil consumption.

    In terms of dropping demand - have you seen the price of oil recently? If global demand is dropping, then the price should also be dropping. It isn't.

    Lastly, in terms of replacing the role of petroleum in transportation, electric cars and natural gas engines may seem to be a panacea, but I'd suggest looking at what the increased consumption will do to the electrical grid and the price of natural gas (don't forget that both have lower efficiencies than petroleum engines due to the different energy densities). These technologies may look good at the microscopic scales they're currently at, but they can't realistically scale up to replace oil.

    I'm seeing a lot of these shallow analyses regarding petroleum on the Fool. Could we up the game a bit please?

  • Report this Comment On April 15, 2013, at 1:20 AM, bristolguy wrote:

    I think it is deceiving to place this in the WPRT article list when its mostly about Tesla. I guess I can make a stretch and imagine a subtle comparison but it does take a "stretch."

  • Report this Comment On April 15, 2013, at 11:30 AM, ThatGuyInTheBack wrote:

    Travis,

    "Peak oil" theory does not just focus on "production, period."

    Look, you have some engineering background. Here's the problem stated as a formula.

    Oil utility = (Net Energy/Unit Price)/Time

    Over any time range that matters (i.e. 50 years), net energy decreases. Unit price increases until utility approaches zero.

    All the hydrocarbons on the moons of Jupiter do us no good because their production price would be prohibitively high compared to their net energy (negative). The problem is the same closer to home. A teacup of oil 7 miles beneath the earth in a granite formation is energy negative and expensive to extract. It doesn't matter how many such teacups exist.

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