We are pretty familiar with the notion of “Peak Oil” the point at which the consumption of oil is greater than the rate of discovering new sources, giving us a doomsday outcome at a calculatable point in the future, but is it such a new idea??
William Jevsons an English economist published a book in 1865 called “The coal Question” in which he speculated that the machines (steam engines) developed to utilise the coal deposits in England, and to which England had easy access, had become so efficient that the at rate at which the resource was being depleted, England would soon run out.
It would be dumb to assume that the search for new oil reserves would repeat the experience with coal, where huge new resources were discovered in many places, but it makes sense to consider commercial and technical responses to the increasing cost of oil that will be a natural outcome of the increasing difficulty, cost, and environmental impact of extraction.
The awareness of the costs of oil across our society is mobilising great intellect to address then problem. As you read around this topic, fascinating stuff comes to light. One is the e-book, Winning the Oil Endgame written by Amory Lovins and colleagues.
Whilst this relates ways in which technology can reduce, and perhaps virtually eliminate oil use, none of the technology is science fiction, just applications of existing, well understood science.
I can only wish that 10% as much effort that Canberra invests in spinning their green credentials could be devoted to doing something useful.