With gasoline prices pushing $4 a gallon the hue and cry over oil is at a deafening level. One of the more interesting aspects of the debate is over the concept of "peak oil." In short, whether the world is already on the path towards ever lower levels of oil production.

Christopher Palmieri at BusinessWeek.com profiles the omnipresent T. Boone Pickens and finds him still bullis on oil. Due in large part to his opinion that,

Pickens says his central message to oil investors and consumers is that the industry is simply not capable of producing more than 85 million barrels per day. Global demand is preciously close to that at 84 million and by the end of the year it should top 85 million. "Blood, guts, and feathers — that's all you got," he says. "Everything is squeezed as much as it can be squeezed."

To wit Pickens is still a believer in three main investment themes: coal, oil sands, and alterntive energy. Apparently the venture capital industry also agrees with Pickens in regards to alternative energy. Grace Wong at CNNMoney.com notes the rush of capital into the alternative energy industry, with alternative fuels at the top of the list.

Glenn Reynolds points to a couple of interesting items on the energy debate. First a piece at Popular Mechanics crunches the numbers on alternative fuels and remarks that no single new source will be able to displace gasoline.

The other piece is by Ronald Bailey at Reason that serves as a counterweight to the most apocalyptic of the peak oil crowd. The piece serves as a good summary of the peak oil argument. Bailey ultimately believes that market forces, and only market forces, can provide us with an economic path towards an oil-free future.

One day, the oil age will end. As with all resources, there is ultimately a finite supply of oil. So it is not yet clear how the world will power itself for the bulk of the coming century. But we have at least another three decades to find alternatives to petroleum. “Trusting markets is the only way we can assure energy abundance in the future,” notes the University of Houston’s Economides. “It’s also the only way that we will ever transition to something other than oil and gas.”

AutoblogGreen points to a piece that provides adds some historical color to the alternative fuels story – via Appalachian moonshine stills.