3) Running on Empty: Drying Up of World Oil Supplies!
Peak oil theory has consistently been proven wrong. So, are we likely to run out of oil? No, because as it becomes more expensive, other alternatives will become more attractive. Yet and still, this isn’t Star Trek. Science moves slowly and even after advances become tenable, it still takes time to roll them out.
That’s extremely important because there are relatively few large sources of oil. Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates combined account for 60% of the world’s oil reserves. Imagine a couple of very plausible scenarios occurring at the same time — perhaps a war between Israel and Iran along with a civil war in Saudi Arabia. If that were to happen, you could easily see the price of oil double or even triple overnight with no easy fix. No technological alternative could immediately fill the gap and the rest of the world wouldn’t be able to produce enough to make up for the shortage.
In poorer nations, that would make oil such an expensive commodity that it could practically shut down their economies. That wouldn’t happen in wealthier Western countries like the United States, but you could see gas lines, enforced conservation, and dramatically reduced economic growth coupled with runaway inflation. If oil pipelines and refineries were damaged in the fight or other oil producers decided to gouge instead of helping to alleviate the problem, it’s entirely possible the economic pain could drag on for years and make the Carter era look like, well, the Carter era with twice as much Jimmy Carter!