Robert Hirsch, former senior advisor for Science Applications International Corporation, sat down with MSNBC’s Alex Witt to discuss the possibility of an upcoming oil crisis. Hirsch says that gas could reach $15/gallon within a few years because it is “essentially certain” the world has reached the maximum levels of oil production.

“The problem is that there’s not that much oil left in the ground,” Hirsch says. “What we’ve done is been very fortunate to have oil production increase as our economies have developed over the past decades. And now we’re reaching a point where we’re about to get, or we may be, at the maximum world oil production. After that, oil production will then decline and prices, of course, will continue to do what they’ve been doing recently. So what we’ve got today may be the ‘good old days.’”

Hirsch addressed the timeframe in which the US could see $15/gallon gas: “It could happen within a matter of months. It could happen within a matter of a few years. But it’s essentially certain that we are at the maximum of world oil production. And after that, we’ll go into decline, and when there’s much less oil available, then, of course, the price of oil is going to increase dramatically.”

Fuels, heating oil, and consumer products that rely on petroleum will all be impacted by the decline in world oil production. Hirsch estimates the world GDP declining at the same rate as oil production.

This video is from MSNBC’s News Live, broadcast May 24, 2008.

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