Europeans who have achieved a high standard of living in spite of very high energy prices — gas in Germany costs more than $8 a gallon — have a lot to teach us about how to deal with that world.
If Europe’s example is any guide, here are the two secrets of coping with expensive oil: own fuel-efficient cars, and don’t drive them too much.
Still, if we’re heading for a prolonged era of scarce, expensive oil, Americans will face increasingly strong incentives to start living like Europeans — maybe not today, and maybe not tomorrow, but soon, and for the rest of our lives.
Perhaps I’m biased because I live in New York City and don’t own a car, but conservation seems to be the most sensible way of dealing with high oil prices. Problem is, so much of our economy and our lifestyles are dependent on cheap energy – changing the way we live would be a massive undertaking.
Let’s get on with it then! Looking at the supply/demand fundamentals for the next 20 years suggest that oil is not likely to get any cheaper.