Generally speaking, this chapter appears too optimistic on the future prospects for oil and gas discoveries, both in the United States and worldwide. The chapter holds out hope that oil production will be maintained approximately constant through 2010 in the United States and through 2050 worldwide. It relies primarily on USGS circular 725 for ultimate U.S. oil reserves. This circular was developed in 1975, is out of date, and is generally considered to be optimistic based on reappraisals now in progress.
Assumptions of 2 percent GNP growth (compared to everyone else’s 2.9– 3.7 percent) and of electricity prices rising as rapidly as fuel prices make all the projections of Table 11–12 very low.
Assuming 3.4 percent GNP growth would make the 2010 quad values in Figure 11–4 roughly as follows: scenario A, 125; scenario B, 160; scenario C, 230; scenario D, 270.
I believe it terribly dangerous to extend our experience with a very small range of economic quantities to predict what will happen far beyond that range.
Price elasticity is the local slope of a highly nonlinear cause-effect curve. To estimate that slope for a range far beyond experience is highly speculative.