The problem with assuming the world will have x
amount of oil remaining for x
number of years at current levels of consumption
is that only an idiot would believe that consumption
will remain at present levels in the foreseeable future when China
are developing rapidly and demanding their fair share of diminishing supplies. If China
produce a middle class proportionately equivalent to the percentage in already developed industrial societies, the increased demand for scarce supplies will drive the prevailing price
of oil, and its refined by-products, through the roof.
The effect in societies like that of the United States will be that all of those suburban and exurban developments that blossomed in the outlying areas around industrial city cores will become ghost towns. It was only the artificially-low cost of gasoline in America that gave people the option of choosing "a better quality of life" away from city cores, while still heavily reliant on the economic benefits of a thriving industrial base at the cities' centers.
When the first "oil shock" hit in the 70s, many families still had the option of having "Mom" leave the home and return to the workforce to make ends meet. But now that most families already have two income
earners, what options exist to earn more income
so that the exurban lifestyle can be maintained? It clearly won't be refinancing the house and "living off the equity." With house prices declining, that source of funds has been tapped out, and few Americans actually have any equity in their McMansions.
If and when gasoline and heating
oil prices in the US move to market levels, the ensuing pain will be intense, and America will not be a pleasant place to live.