The nice thing about high oil prices is that they make new technologies more cost-effective. Take Cargill, a company that has figured out how to replace petroleum in manufacturing tasks with corns and biomass, and is suddenly able to do it on the cheap:
When Cargill launched its factory in 2002, its pellets were far more expensive than equivalent material made from oil. Wild Oats Markets, an early customer, paid 50% more for takeout containers made from the bio-plastic.
But over the last two years, the Cargill plant has gotten more efficient — and oil prices have soared.