Oil n. Something we cannot do without. [See Germany, WWII, and Japan, WWII.]
John Makin provides the only factually competent piece on the current oil situation that I've seen sans rhetoric. Among the reasons that I've heard from no part of the media is an increase in China's import from 2 million barrels to 10 million in just the past four years.
Even on the micro level, the economic impact is obvious. Our household income is affected substantially when our monthly gas budget is increased from $60-70 per month to roughly $150 for our two fuel-efficient sedans, and I know we're on the low end of these costs.