A coming oil shock?

There seems to be slim chance that the price of oil will not breach the 100 dollars-a-barrel barrier in the near future. The historic ‘high’ price of oil, according to analysts, was the equivalent 101.70 dollars a barrel in today’s prices, which ruled in the aftermath of the Iranian revolution in the 1980s.

The difference between then and now is that the world is a changed place, with rapidly increasing demand particularly in India and China, and several pressures on supply, starting with geopolitics in the Middle East to climate change-related events in the Gulf of Mexico. This piece in the International Herald Tribune gives an overview.

My own take, published in The Hindu’s opinion columns in various contexts, has been that oil demand has be wedged down with a mix of efficiency in personal transport, carbon pricing to subsidise public transport and smart functioning that reduces the need for commuting. The latest editorial on urban development draws attention to this.


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