If we go back to Economics 101, this effect is clearly visible. The continued decline in oil supply is reflected in a series of small changes in the supply curve to the left and related changes along the demand curve. Since gasoline is a normal commodity, Economics 101 tells us that we will have a series of price increases and a reduction in the total amount of gasoline consumed. The final price will reach the point where gasoline will become a niche commodity for a very small number of consumers, while other consumers will find alternatives to natural gas. When this happens, there will still be a lot of oil on the ground, but consumers will find alternatives that are more economical for them, so there is little demand (if any) for gasoline. Should the government spend more on fuel cell research? unnecessary. There are already many alternatives to standard internal combustion engines. In most parts of the United States, gasoline prices are less than $2.00 per gallon, and electric vehicles are not very popular. If the price increases significantly, such as $4.00 or $6.00, we expect a lot of electric cars to drive on the road. Hybrids, while not a strict replacement for internal combustion engines, will reduce the demand for gasoline, as these vehicles can earn twice as many miles as similar cars. Advances in these technologies have made electric vehicles and hybrid vehicles cheaper and more productive, potentially making fuel cell technology unnecessary. Keep in mind that as gasoline prices rise, automakers will have the incentive to develop cars that run on cheaper alternative fuels to win the business of consumers who are tired of high oil prices. An expensive government plan to replace fuel and fuel cells does not seem necessary. When a useful commodity, such as gasoline, becomes scarce, there is always a cost to the economy, just as we find that an infinite form of energy is good for the economy. This is because the value of the economy is roughly measured by the value of the goods and services it produces. Keep in mind that unless there are any unforeseen tragedies or deliberate measures to limit the supply of oil, the supply will not suddenly drop, which means that prices will not suddenly rise. The situation in the 1970s was very different because we saw a sudden sharp drop in the amount of oil in the world market, as a cartel in the oil producing country deliberately cut production to raise world prices. This is very different from the natural decline in the slow supply of oil due to depletion. Therefore, unlike the 1970s, we should not expect to see big lines on the pump and the price rises overnight. This is assuming that the government does not attempt to “solve” the problem of reduced oil supply through rationing. Given the things taught to us in the 1970s, this is unlikely. In short, if the market is allowed to operate freely, the oil supply will never be exhausted in the physical sense, although future gasoline is likely to become a niche commodity. Changes in consumer patterns and the emergence of new technologies brought about by rising oil prices will prevent the actual depletion of oil supplies. While predicting apocalyptic scenes may be a good way to get people to know your name, they have a poor prediction of what might happen in the future.