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Robert Bryce is a Texas-based freelance journalist and the current managing editor of Energy Tribune.  His most recent book,Gusher of Lies: The Dangerous Delusions of Energy Independence (2008) has been heralded as[…]

Is there a limit to how much the American consumer will tolerate?

Question: What will a $120 barrel of oil mean for the U.S. economy?

Robert Bryce: Well, clearly the price of oil has had an effect on the US economy, but it has it been pronounced I think it is many people feared, I remember back in 2002 economist were threading over their possibilities of $40 or $50 oil, now were to $100 oil but people don’t like it little most of us can still afford it, now it’s generally hurting a lot of people, I am not making lie of that it is definitely lot of people who drive a lot truckers they feel in big pinch, but oil at a $120 I don’t know that will be substantially different from or 100, the price of gasoline is going up, but there are lot of other factors now that are coming into the price of crude, besides demand and that is the falling value of dollar and lot of speculators in the market now affecting the price of crude so, how much the increased price will have what effect will have. I can’t predict that.

Question: Is there a limit to how much the American consumer can tolerate?

Robert Bryce: Well, I think that, in theory any way the $5 a gallon price is when the people often mention as one were huge amounts of conservation people who drive were quit driving their car pool, ride their bikes, I think that makes some sense, but for my self I live in a Austin, I often I have to drive to Houston, if my choices are taking the bus or flying or driving myself I am still going to probably buy $5 gallon gasoline and I think that for as I recall about 2/3rds of the transportation miles driven by civilians non commercial operators or people driving to work, so the even in $5 a lot of people are going to pay it, because they have to get to work, so I think we have not seen yet a price high enough, I think for a lot of societal changes overall in terms of the end of the suburbs or so on because we still see gasoline as a necessity and I think for many people it is still isn’t will be for a long time to come.

Date Recorded: 03/20/2008