The Cost of Energy is based on the following five beliefs:

1. The worldwide peak of oil production is both real and imminent.

2. The worldwide peak of natural gas production is real, but likely 10 to 20 years away.

3. Both of these peaks, combined with growing worldwide demand, will cause the industrialized world considerable economic dislocation and pain, under even the best of circumstances.

4. Relying solely on the market and its only mechanism, prices, to help us navigate these challenges is foolish and dangerous. The market will provide almost no advance signals of impending shortages, which will only delay our individual and collective responses. By then it will be too late to make many of the necessary conversions to renewable energy sources and a more energy efficient society in a controlled and comfortable fashion. The result will be far more expensive, disruptive, and painful adjustments to the age of scarce oil and natural gas.

5. The time is for action is perilously short, but there is good news. Even now, before truly high oil or natural gas prices appear, we’re already seeing positive action by individuals, institutions, and companies, in the form of increased investment in renewable energy sources and research and development, decreased demand for less fuel efficient vehicles, and very strong demand for hybrid vehicles. Increased energy awareness will only help accelerate those trends and benefit us all in both the short and long terms.

The goal of The Cost of Energy is to encourage this education effect by making it as easy as possible for non-experts to learn about energy issues.


Lou Grinzo graduated in economics before being ‘sucked into “real employment” as a programmer, software designer, and technical writer and editor for several computer magazines’ (and he makes the increasingly common plea of classically trained economists, not to hold it against him!).

He professes to have been an energy nerd all his life, and finds the only thing surprising about our current predicament is that there have not been more oil shocks and that ‘the peak didn’t sunk its teeth into us sooner’.

The Cost of Energy site invites contributions and collaboration in its ongoing development, and reuse of the material there is explicitly encouraged.