Imagine, for a moment, that an industrial nation were to downshift its technological infrastructure to roughly what it was in 1950. That would involve a drastic decrease in energy consumption per capita, both directly—people used a lot less energy of all kinds in 1950—and indirectly—goods and services took much less energy to produce then, too.
The idea has merit, but the numbers I come up with show a different picture
So here is the way that I am thinking about looking at things.
It isn't so much the total amount of oil produced/imported that matters, it is the quantity of oil per capita that matters.
Then, take a peek at this graph:
|Data taken from EIA|
So gentle readers, lets make some assumptions for the sake of argument.
First, the assumption that wells will keep pumping. But I post that the import fraction of our consumption will begin to dry up and the fracking will come back on line. I make some ball park guesses below about the imports available to the US.
Second, the fracking, when it comes back on line will dry up in around 10 years from restart, the phase "squeezing blood from a turnip" is the principle that will drive this.
So I am asking you to go back one page and take a look at how I come up with my S.W.A.G. (scientific wild-ass guess) for US production of oil in 2023.
So, really, what we are looking at is a steady decrease in overall oil supply and a lower oil consumption per capita and a correspondingly lower technology base.
I could run a new spreadsheet to add things together to give you a false impression of precision and accuracy, but when one is throwing together SWAG, that is considered bad form.
SO take the year 2023 (eight years from now) and add the oil production sans fracking and the imports that we will be able to access and you get this
Estimated US Oil Production: 1.5 Billion Barrels
Estimated US Oil Imports: 2.2 Billion Barrels
Total available US Oil: 3.7 Billion Barrels
Estimated US Population: 346 million
Estimated US Oil per capita: 10.69 Barrels
So, going back to JMG.
He posits a 1950's level lifestyle/technology base. Well in 1955 the US oil consumption per-capita was 16.8 barrels. In 2013, the oil consumption per capita was 17.5 barrels.
So, if we follow JMG's thoughts, we are looking at a per capita consumption roughly equivalent to 1941 in eight years.
Now, truth be told, there was not a lot of difference in technology between '41 and '55. So maybe he os on to something. But the downward slope of the oil curve will continue to be negative.
I am thinking that we maybe ought to be looking at the 1920's instead.