The U.S. military thinks we're one step closer to peak oil, the point at which oil demand will forever outstrip oil supply, and therefore we're one step closer to fighting over the last rusting cans of gasoline like so many scraps of meat. On the plus side, we're also one step closer to finally equipping our cars with superchargers and massive gas tanks rigged with explosives a la Mad Max and his archetypal peak-oil sled, "the last of the V-8 Interceptors."

The U.S. Joint Forces command has issued a Joint Operating Environment report that states that surplus oil production capacity could disappear within two years and that there could be serious shortages by 2015. From the report:
By 2012, surplus oil production capacity could entirely disappear, and as early as 2015, the shortfall in output could reach nearly 10 million barrels per day, While it is difficult to predict precisely what economic, political, and strategic effects such a shortfall might produce, it surely would reduce the prospects for growth in both the developing and developed worlds. Such an economic slowdown would exacerbate other unresolved tensions, push fragile and failing states further down the path toward collapse, and perhaps have serious economic impact on both China and India.
The Joint Operating Environment report didn't go quite as far as saying it was time to start dressing in leather, eating canned dog food and carrying sawed-off shotguns, but it didn't exactly paint a rosy picture of what post-2015 America could look like. "One should not forget that the Great Depression spawned a number of totalitarian regimes that sought economic prosperity for their nations by ruthless conquest," the report points out. Ruthless conquest? They might as well say "massive oiled-up dudes wearing hockey masks and riding around the desert on tractors."

We're not sure where the U.S. Joint Forces command got their numbers from, but their conclusion does seem to jibe with a peak oil assessment by a Kuwaiti study and an estimate by Richard Branson's energy taskforce, all of which means we're off to practice our welding skills.

[Source: Guardian | Image: Clinton Steeds - C.C. License 2.0]