With oil prices breaking the psychologically important level of US$50 per barrel for the first time, many are beginning to conclude that the world is on the verge of an oil crisis on the scale of 1973. Markus Doerr, head of Ricardo Strategic Consulting's Central European practice, argues that this has been a wake-up call for the automotive industry and consumers alike. Here he analyses the origins of the current price spike, the lessons of history and the strategic choices for the future.