Gail the Actuary paints a bleak picture
Economic Impact of Peak Oil Part 3: What's Ahead?
I think the consequences of peak oil are going to start very gradually, and the first thing we'll see is prices rise across the board, especially gas at the pump. Alternative sustainable liquid fuels eventually become competitive... and we will adapt to a more expensive and frugal society.
Ludicrous business practices will end. We will not ship raw materials to China for processing, only to have it shipped back as some final product.
Imported products will be too expensive for most of us.
We won't fly much anymore... too pricy. Airlines will go under right and left. We won't take long road trips for the same reason. So we'll stick closer to home. And we'll form barter clubs to help us weather the collapse of parts of our oil dependent economy.
The housing market will not recover. Nobody can afford todays prices because everything else costs so much. People will start to walk away from their homes. Migrations not seen since the dust bowl of the 1930s will result in huge camps of refugees forming where ever they can survive. You will see Hummers rusting along side the road.
Cholera and other disease will take a toll.
It'll be like a thousand Katrinas. Our governments will not be able to cope.
Carpentry, horticulture, sewing, cooking... the homely skills will be valued.
We won't throw anything away that can be fixed, salvaged or re-purposed. The blacksmith will be the most respected person in town. The glut of horses of 2010 will turn into a shortage.
There may be jolts along the way, but for the most part it will happen over a few decades. The very rich will be able to afford energy. The rest of us, not so much.
In a couple of centuries innovation will allow us to pull out of this dark age. We'll form stable sustainable communities. It will be a good life, but there will be a lot fewer of us.
One thing that must be preserved is the internet. Without it, total collapse of modern civilization is almost assured.
Ok, that's me rambling and speculating...
There are more articulate and expert people who have studied this issue.
Summary of the Four Climate/Energy Descent Scenarios