Hubbert’s Peak Oil theory was developed by a geophysicist Marion King Hubbert to model how oil would run out. The issue has been discussed for a long time in oil circles, and widely accepted as truthful based on how Hubbert modeled the decline of US oil production based on a peak in the early 1970s. Hubbert had made this prediction back in 1956. The Peak in question is the top of a ‘bell curve’ (see picture) used to model production, the model can only provide approximate values because the oil production data available is usually estimates and can vary considerably in accuracy. Interestingly the combination of Middle East instability and the rise of the Chinese economy has brought the discussion of ‘Peak Oil’ into the mainstream culture. Rolling Stone magazine (yes, that Rolling Stone) has an article here called ‘The Long Emergency’. The article moves beyond Hubbert’s Peak to explain what a post-oil US economy may look like and it ain’t pretty.
More information on Hubbert’s Peak can be found online here.