John Hofmeister, a former president of Shell Oil and former board chairman of the American Petroleum Institute, says Americans could be paying five for a gallon of gasoline by 2012. How accurate a prediction is that? Erin Roth, executive director of the Wisconsin and Minnesota Petroleum Council, says gas prices are based on the price of crude oil, currently hovering at around on $90 a barrel. “Where it goes from here all depends on demand, and ow quickly the U.S. economy rebounds,” Roth says. “We’ve seen some signs recently, we’ve had an uptick in demand for all products including diesel and jet fuel.”
Roth says what happens to the price at the pump here in the U.S. largely depends on the global economy. “There are speculators that believe crude oil is going to be trading in the $120 to $150 a barrel range in the next year because of rebounding economies, but we don’t know if in fact that will be true.” Other analysts are less alarming than Hofmeister, predicting five dollars a gallon by the end of the decade, but not next year.