The fear that oil is running out has been replaced by the fear that oil will pollute the life on earth out of existence. In both cases, the countermeasure is to find alternative sources of energy. This alleviates the first fear as it allows to stretch the use of oil over a longer period, one would hope. But what about the second fear?
Reyer Gerlagh makes the observation that things could take a turn for the worse. Indeed, if there is a sufficiently high probability that oil will be replaced by some alternative energy sources in the future, then current suppliers of oil have every incentive to dump all their supply on the market now. Oil consumption would dramatically increase and the pollution problem worsens. The solution, once again, is to tax oil to counter this effect. Americans, this is how you should be financing your health care reform.