The five year ‘price of petrol’ sweepstake!

Five years ago we were sitting in our kitchen with Rob Hopkins, Ruth and a couple of other people. We had recently watched the film ‘The End of Suburbia’ and had spent time in conversation with Colin Campbell. Petrol in Ireland had gone up quite quickly from around 70 cents a litre to €1 (EUR) per litre. Rob was thinking about organising a conference on Peak Oil. The end of oil powered lifestyles was near! But how near?

Predicting the future is hard. So I asked everyone how much they thought a litre of petrol would be in five year’s time. Here are the predictions:

  • Ruth said it’d be €2
  • I said €3
  • Roger €3.67 (can’t remember who he is!)
  • Rob Hopkins said €3.50
  • Graham Strouts said €10 (asked in in Feb 2005)
  • Aisling said €2.72 (friend of Graham’s asked in in Feb 2005)

And today the price of petrol in Skibbereen….. is….. drum rolll….. €1.14 per litre!

So in  five years petrol has gone up by 14 cents.

And I am pleased to announce that Ruth is the winner!  I promised to cook her a local food meal if she won.

Graham and Rob, the Peak Oil experts (both have published books on the subject) did just about worst! I reckon they’d been reading too many doomer books!

Of course none of this means that Peak Oil and the need for radical change or the likelihood of industrial collapse are any less likely.  But it is very interesting to me to show how hard it is to get timing right or predict the future.

Comments welcome!

Thursday, 1 October 2009

4 responses to The five year ‘price of petrol’ sweepstake!

  1. Mike said:

    If you had asked me I would have guessed 1.14 so I think you should invite me and Helen round for Dinner as well. (This may in fact be a lie). Well done Ruth, I shall hang upon your every word from now on and ignore ‘Grey Cloud Graham’

  2. Rob Hopkins said:

    Well, I’m humbled. All I can say is that perhaps if the quesion had been “what state of health will the Irish economy be in in 5 years time”, the more doomerish among us(Mr Strouts and I) would be currently sitting down to one of your delicious home-cooked meals. Perhaps we failed to see the extent to which the oil price is a construct of many things other than just flow and supply.
    I also don’t remember this occasion, and I’m impressed that you managed to get such a guess out of me, it is notoriously impossible to do (I must have been plied with large amounts of home made wine.
    I do claim one small success however, which in no way makes up for my woeful petrol price forecasting. A friend asked me 16 months ago where I thought houseprices were going and I told her ‘down’. She sold at what turned out to be the top of the market and did very well for herself (I was unfortunately not on a commission!)M
    So congratulations Ruth,enjoy the meal,well earned (that Tom drives a hard bargain for cooking the tea!). So are the bets now on at minktoast for whether Michael Owen will be playing in the 2010 World Cup Finals?

  3. Graham said:

    Many congratulations to Ruth!
    But…This is obviously a fix! petrol would certainly have reached 10euros/litre if the economic doomsters amongst you had not talked down the economy thereby destroying demand.
    However, for my next prediction, I expect to see in another 5years oil given away free. So get cooking!

  4. Pingback: Zone5 » Five Years On: Oil Price Sweepstake

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