Who, How And Why: $140 Oil And $5 Gas
by Llewellyn King
According to a loosely-organized apocalyptic Christian movement, May 21, 2011 will be the “end of days.” On or about that same date, the price of oil in the United States will begin to climb to $4 a gallon, according to two savants of the oil industry.
The former is highly unlikely but the latter is very probable.
The escalation in the price of oil is predicted by the legendary oil man T. Boone Pickens, known for his financial acuity as well as his oil expertise, and John Hofmeister, who retired as president of Shell Oil Company, to sound the alarm about the rate of U.S. consumption of oil.
In an interview with a trade publication, Hofmeister predicted that oil would rise to $4 a gallon this year and to $5 a gallon in the election year 2012. Separately, Pickens—who has been leaning on Congress to enact an energy policy that would switch large trucks and other commercial vehicles from imported oil to domestic natural gas—predicts that oil currently selling for just over $90 a barrel will go to $120 a barrel, with a concomitant price per gallon of $4 or more.
The Obama administration appears to have been slow to grasp the political implications of an escalation in the price of oil. When asked about it, outgoing White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs referred the questioner to the Department of Energy.
Not everyone is alarmed by the incipient rise in the oil price. Republicans, who are especially close to the oil industry and its Washington lobby, orchestrated by the American Petroleum Institute, think that a great deal of hay can be made while this particular sun shines. They plan to attack the administration for spending too many resources on alternative fuels, over-regulating the industry, and keeping too many federal lands away from oil prospecting. They also accuse the administration of being too frugal with its release of drilling areas in the Gulf of Mexico and on the two coasts, as well as Alaska.