Remember herpes? According to Time magazine (Aug. 2, 1982 edition), it was the bubonic plague of the time, sure to run rampant over the general population and spell the end of the one night stand. Thirty years later - post-AIDS and with teenagers wearing wristbands to advertise what kinky behaviours they're willing to indulge in that evening - it seems very much the classic tempest in a teapot.
How about Y2K? If media reports were to be believed, computer time clocks would spontaneously immolate as 1999 ended. And then ... nothing happened. The promised digital Armageddon was yet another bust.
And now I am left wondering whether the one prognostication of doom I did buy into - namely peak oil, or the fact that diminishing oil supplies would drive gasoline prices skyward and thus force us all into electrified weenie-mobiles - is yet another case of the general public taking Chicken Little too seriously.
News out of the oil industry is that the United States may be energy self-sufficient by 2022. OK, I exaggerate; in fact, U.S. oil production will be boosted by sabout 75 per cent, possibly weaning the U.S. off Middle Eastern imports.
South of the border, one of the favourite arguments for the adoption of electrified vehicles is "energy security." With the emissions reduction message falling on increasingly deaf ears, the nattering nabobs of environmental negativism have been touting messages more pertinent to Americans - namely, that increasingly stringent fuel economy standards will save money at the pumps and reduce reliance on increasingly volatile Middle Eastern supplies.
Well, if the proponents of shale oil fracking are believable, both problems will be eliminated, or at least stabilized, without any changes in the North American automotive fleet. According to Bentek Energy's market analysts, by 2022 the U.S. may only require oil imports from reliable neighbours such as Canada and Mexico.
To access a complete copy of this report please click here.