[exactly what I was going to say]
Thanks, Xtal! I was worried I was the only one on this forum who got it.
If oil gets too expensive, just start using natural gas as a fuel source instead. It's cheap and abundant. Is it renewable? No. Is it zero emission? No. But it's a nice alternative that can help in the transition away from an oil-based economy. With any luck, it'll buy us enough time to really get our shit together with solar, wind, and geothermal (which is something the US *really* has in abundance).
Yes, that's what they said during the first oil shocks in the 1970s. It's not "with any luck" it was "with any foresight"-- which, unfortunately, we lack. We've squandered our bridging resource, however. The amounts still available are massively overstated in the media. (that also goes for coal, too, if you happen to hate your grandchildren that much)
For the purposes of convincing this crowd:
Dr. Tom Murphy, a physicist at UCSD, has a lovely blog in which he has analyzed and knocked down all comers for replacement technology, here
. He also analyzes what he calls the "energy trap"
-- that is, we're stuck even if we had a replacement handy, mostly because we have eaten through our bridging resources. The analogy I like for our situation (which he doesn't use) is that if you run out of gas in Siberia a few hundred miles from the nearest service station, you cannot carry enough gas back to get to the service station... so without making massive sacrifices (walk with a back-breaking load of fuel, drive a ways, repeat) you are out of gas, permanently.
Interestingly, Dr. Murphy (and many peak oil thinkers) last, best hope essentially comes down to Mustachianism. If we, as a society, got off the consumer treadmill, we needn't suffer that much through the End of Oil.
What the End of Growth means for our investment portfolios is nothing good, however. What I anticipate from the stock market is a boom-bust cycle, one bubble after another, with the real economy never --quite-- recovering. Just as the stock market has recovered from 2008 just fine, but things on main street don't seem so great. If the economy does recover well enough, rising oil prices will knock it back in its place-- that's just simple demand destruction, because we aren't increasing production. Right now, it looks like the whole shale gas bubble is on its way out in the next year or so. (When leases have been trading for more than the recoverable gas under them is worth, I feel confident enough calling that a bubble).
I'm guessing property and durable goods would be the best investment in this sort of economic environment, but I am not 100% certain. For sure I'm not buying into the market right now, though.