Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Energy prices don’t need to rise that much before a fragile consumer-led economy could face another
This year's runup pales in comparison to the one that peaked last summer above $145 a barrel. Even so, some researchers warn we could once again be approaching the point at which rising energy costs will squeeze consumers. That could complicate recovery in an economy that, despite the tumult of the past two years, remains as consumer-driven as ever. "If you had to ask me what is the safe driving speed, I'd say $80 a barrel," said Steven Kopits, managing director at energy market forecaster Douglas-Westwood in New York. "We have bigger problems right now, but we shouldn't forget we're still vulnerable to rising oil prices."