GUSTAV BLOWS BY, OIL PRICES BLOW THROUGH THE FLOOR: The price per barrel of oil is plummeting toward a $100, which sounds cheap given the $146 per barrel horror of a few months ago. An L.A. Times story offers this hopeful tidbit for operators:
Fadel Gheit, senior energy analyst for Oppenheimer and Co., said he wouldn't be surprised if oil returned to the $50 to $60 levels of roughly a year ago.
"Demand for oil from China is slowing down," Gheit said. "In Japan and Europe, the developed economies are slowing down also. All of these factors will be bearing down on oil prices in the coming weeks and months."
WOW. If that indeed comes to pass, then all of our collective panic and dread will have seemed a bit foolish. And the speculators will look like the temporary culprits. The fossil fueled era of chauffeured transportation isn't quite over yet, and may just have a few acts left. While the above prediction would be universally welcomed, it cannot provide long-term comfort. The trends this latest spate of oil prices unleashed -- smaller, greener vehicles, less miles driven, more use of livery buses, the quest for alternative-fueled limousines, fuel surcharges -- should continue until the U.S. achieves a more diverse mix of energy sources, including for oil. But what a relief if we don't have to put up with $150 per barrel oil on the way there. Let's keep those Town Cars rolling. . . -- M.R.
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