Rigzone. The surge in fuel cost this year has not catalyzed any noticeable conservation. The consensus among experts is that higher prices need to persist for a longer period for change to occur, although some are more optimistic about rapid change than others.
Economists, energy analysts and efficiency gurus say they expected petroleum demand growth to slow in 2004, given that total spending will rise by about $295 billion, or 27 percent. Instead, worldwide oil demand grew more than 3 percent, according to government data, or about twice as fast as the market had originally anticipated. [...]
Mark D. Levine, the director of the environmental energy technologies division at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, Calif., said he was "disappointed" though not entirely surprised by the inelasticity of oil demand over such a short period of time. [...]
Levine...believes that as oil demand in China and other developing nations grows, and as oil producers eventually have trouble keeping up with demand, decision-makers in households, corporations and, most importantly, government, will rethink the way we consume energy.
“Remember when those huge monster cars went out of fashion? Well, that will happen again,” he said.
The question is: What (or when) is the tipping point?