An interesting side point:
Consequently, in the short term the demand for oil isn’t very elastic. That means that if you brought oil up to $200 a barrel by raising taxes you’d generate a bunch of revenue that could be offset with lower income taxes or what have you. But if oil goes up to $200 a barrel because of supply constraints, then that entails a rise in America’s net imports and therefore a drag on GDP. In the long run, I’m sure we can adjust to high oil prices the same as we’d adjust to anything else.
Tangential to his larger point there, but in fact you can imagine a future with $200 a barrel oil that people reconcile themselves to and curse the Saudis or Venezuela or whomever our media mavens signal we should divert our rage – and then people would just find a way to deal. But can you see the same price per barrel brought on voluntarily as a pre-emptive step? Not at all. We could never reconcile ourselves that sort of planning, even in the face of a strict inevitability.
So the thing is, peer into the future through this fence and what do you see? Pain and insult or progress? Because finding a way to cope anyway in the face of $8 -$10/gallon gas is an insult to any kind of hopeful future, low-oil or no. It means we are capable, though not amenable, to changes in habits, lifestyle and consumption. We choose to do nothing until we are forced, then we will anyway?
Nothing limits your choices quite like flaunting them.