Peak oil: Is the global economy going to run out of gas?

As the global community focuses on righting the economic ship of state, it seems worthwhile to take another peek at the "peak oil" debate. The basis of considerable controversy, peak oil is the theoretical point at which global oil production will plateau, and then irreversibly decline. Geologists and veteran oil industry analysts have varying forecasts as to when peak oil will occur, with several arguing that the concept itself is flawed, and that crude will remain abundant through the 21st century.

Still, the forecasters all agree on one point: if global oil production peaks, the price of oil will quickly rise to unprecedented levels. For example, given current demand conditions, if peak oil occurred today, oil would quickly rocket to $100, then $150 per barrel, creating the world's fourth oil shock.