According to a 1975 report by petroleum industry experts, the United States was set to be completely independent of Mid East oil by 2015. So was every other country on Earth, “because, statistically, that will be the year the last barrel of oil is pumped from the last well on Earth.”

This prediction came from a September 28, 1975 article in the Brownsville Herald that was syndicated by the UPI and printed in newspapers around the country — and it wasn’t written by some lunatic, either. That paper got its figures from 1975 International Petroleum Encyclopedia, updated and published (at the time) annually by the Petroleum Publishing Co., which seems to have been the go-to oil trade publication of the time.

All this talk about when we’d run out of oil made me think back to the earlier days of Gas 2 and conversations about “peak oil.” Peak oil is the point when the maximum rate of extraction of petroleum is reached, and after which the rate of production can only decline — and we talked about it a lot. We were expected to hit peak oil last year, by the way, and our society is set to collapse any day now because of it.


So, When Will We Run Out of Oil?


Nobody has a clue, and even that Kuwaiti research team that was worried about peak oil happening in 2014 said peak might come in 2050, or might come never, as the world’s energy demands change and large emerging markets like China begin to clamp down on pollution and vehicle emissions.

Not having a clue has never stopped us from getting worked up about topics before, though! Let us know when you think the world will run out of oil, and why, in the comments section at the bottom of the page. Enjoy!


Source | Images: Paleofuture, via Gizmodo.