As I write this, the quadrennial election is history and the commodities slide appears to have resumed with a renewed fervor. Crude oil prices are down nearly $5 a barrel. So maybe we can forget about last summer's $145-per-barrel levy and look forward to a return to oil at $50-$60 a barrel for about as far as the eye can see.

Wrong! As The Wall Street Journal has pointed out, "... a year or more from now, big supply challenges look unavoidable." Here's the logic: Today, the world uses about 85.5 million barrels of crude oil each and every day. That's pretty much the case despite a decline of about 1.9% in consumption from the industrialized countries in the past year. China, India, and their developing peers continue to expand their usage.

The difficulty -- and it'll be a bigger problem down the road -- is that what economists refer to as "the marginal cost of production" in many areas of the world is now above the crude price. And with the commodities price slide certain to cause capital spending pullbacks in those areas, we may, as the Journal indicated, be in the energy-price soup in a year or more. For instance, Marathon Oil (NYSE:MRO), which is active in Canada's prolific and expensive Alberta oil sands, told us last week that its capital expenditures will be trimmed by about 15% next year.

And Suncor Energy (NYSE:SU), an active Calgary-based player in those same oil sands, is delaying a major development project there. Beyond that, you've heard about the big discoveries of late by Petrobras (NYSE:PBR) in the deep waters off Brazil. If you think those discoveries, which will require a king's ransom to develop, will begin to flow with crude prices below $70 a barrel, or even below $90, there's a high-rise for sale in Ipanema I'd like to discuss with you.

But seriously, here's where you energy investors may be: You own ExxonMobil (NYSE:XOM), and it's down nearly 20% from its 52-week high. Or you're into Transocean (NYSE:RIG), which is down around 50%, or Devon (NYSE:DVN), which has fallen by nearly 35%, close to the same amount as BP (NYSE:BP). What to do?

My strong advice is to hang in there. This is not the time to sell your energy names. In a year or so, it's very likely that you'll be watching your share prices be pulled decidedly higher by a return to triple-digit crude.

Petrobras is a Motley Fool Income Investor selection. Try this market-beating publication free for 30 days.

Fool contributor David Lee Smith owns nary a share in any of the companies mentioned. He does, however, solicit your questions or comments. The Fool has a disclosure policy.