Charles Maxwell is Senior Energy Analyst at Weeden & Co.
- He believes we've seen the peak for energy prices for the time being.
- Hurricane Katrina did quite a lot of damage to the oil industry in the Gulf of Mexico, more than is publicly recognized. There is 15% of production off-line, he expects 10% to still be off-line in 2 months, and 5% still to be off-line in 6 months, meaning quite a drop in production.
- Now that they are looking below water, they are finding more damage than they thought, but a huge flotilla of gas and oil is coming from Europe to help.
- The question is: will people drive less and make up for the shortfall? Over Labor Day, he said there was an 8-9% drop in driving.
- He believes oil prices will stay in the mid 60s for a while, and though they might move higher, he doesn't believe they will spike much higher.
- Drivers will have to cut down and conserve; combining trips, errands, switching to small cars, there are a thousand ways to conserve, and it's a necessity we do.
- When asked where the responsibility lies, he answered that the government needs to take the lead, while this administration has so far focused mostly on supply.
- "We have to pay more and more attention to conserving."
- "If we don't conserve, we will pay a terrible price."