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Friday, April 01, 2005

Oil continues runup, record climb predicted

The price of oil reached $55 a barrel again today after falling slightly in recent days. The climb was driven partly by continued predictions for huge demand in Asia.

More worrisome are reports that, for the past month, even U.S. gasoline demand has climbed. We used 2 percent more gas than the same time a year ago, despite record pump prices.

But what really rocked the markets was a disturbing report from leading analyst Goldman Sachs. The firm said we are entering a "super spike" period that could drive prices to $105 a barrel.

The report was alternately praised and criticized. One observer responded by saying "there's going to be tremendous demand growth in the late third and the fourth quarter of this year." Another said: "There's no doubt we're in a new bull market for crude oil."

All this could mean big happenings in the political landscape, no doubt strengthening cries to open ANWR to oil drilling. I hope it will finally convince people to call for broad vehicle efficiency improvements. How high do prices have to go before habits really start changing?

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