How important is the rising price of oil? A few months ago it was said that if it cost more than about $60 per barrel, the U.S. Navy would do well to switch to nuclear power for all its larger surface
ships, such as major amphibious units. By late November oil cost nearly $100 per barrel, and it seemed to go higher each time the unstable Middle East lurched. There is little reason to imagine that the rise will end. The fact that a key Western resource comes mainly from such an unstable place ensures that the market will remain nervous. The growing hunger for oil in major developing countries, particularly China and India, will exacerbate the situation. Current world oil production cannot support Chinese and Indian car ownership on the scale to be expected in a decade if their rates of development hold.