If you compare this map to the one from last week, it’s easy to see that just about every state except those on the west coast is a shade warmer. Since Washington, Oregon, and California are already solid orange, it would be hard for them to change color significantly, because if they did, the whole scale would just slide up a notch.
Last week the coolest green was 2.69-2.82 and the hottest red was 3.85-3.98. This week the low is 2.67-2.80 and the high is 3.82-3.95. The top and bottom of the range have shifted slightly lower, but most regions of most states have actually seen an increase of five to ten cents per gallon. Even with the shifting scale, Michigan and Wisconsin have jumped into the yellow. Like last week, you can click the map to go to the gasbuddy site and zoom in on your region.
If you have not done so yet, you should spend some time reading about the concept of peak oil. Kenneth Deffeyes has written the definitive book, which you can buy from Amazon. First theorized by a petroleum geologist named M. King Hubbert, the basic idea of peak oil is that global oil production will eventually max out and then begin to decline. While (like evolution) the theory is not universally accepted it is obviously true, and(also like evolution) the only people speaking out against it are either idiots or serving a hidden agenda. The only real debate at this point is whether the peak is still to come, or whether we have already passed it by.
Basic economics tells us that once global production peaks, prices will rise until a suitable substitute is found or demand begins to decline. Since there are still hundreds of millions of people in China who don’t own automobiles, I’m not betting on demand going down any time soon. Remember that tractors for farming are fueled with gasoline. As global population increases, the world will need to feed more people, which means more farming, which means more tractors.
The rise will be gradual at first, but as we fall further down from the peak, it will be increasingly rapid, severe, and pervasive. Credible and serious people have suggested that peak oil is what drove Bush and Cheney to invade Iraq. Remember that crude oil is used not just to produce gasoline, but also as a raw material for a whole host of other consumer goods. Essentially every form of plastic in the world today is a polymer, created from unit hydrocarbon molecules that are refined from petroleum.
It would be wise to begin making lifestyle changes now so that when the point of inflection is clearly past, you don’t have to fight the crowds to put yourself in a better situation.