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NEW YORK -- If consumers think they're feeling the pinch at the pump now, just wait until 2012 … at least that's what former Shell Oil president John Hofmeister just might be suggesting. The ex-exec is predicting that in less than two years' time the United States might be facing a 1970s-style energy shortage and that Americans could be paying $5 a gallon to fill up their cars, Fox News reported.
He also added to his prediction that sometime between 2018 and 2020 gas stations in several regions will simply run out of gas because of the imbalance of supply and demand. The news outlet reported that Hofmeister aired his concerns during an interview with Platts Energy Week, and that he even suggested that the federal government is turning its back on the country's domestic oil supply issue and criticized the administration for cracking down on domestic drilling. "I think it's going to be a cumulative problem that won't happen suddenly," Hofmeister told Fox News adding that "it's pure politics that keeps us from drilling more of our own resources." Some may find his predictions all too real, as evidenced by current gas prices rising above the $3 mark and oil topping $90 a barrel.
Hofmeister detailed his predictions by stating that the problem would start with "stockouts" at select gas stations during the summer and bad weather and then spread; those states furthest from refineries would get hit the worst. In order for state and local governments to maintain some sort of consistency there would be a rationing employed like in the 1970s where drivers with even-numbered license plates would buy gas on even days and vice-versa, Fox News stated.
The ex-Shell executive noted that domestic oil production has dropped from 10 million barrels a day just a few decades ago to about 5 million a day, the news outlet reported. Hofmeister said the U.S. could address its short- and medium-term energy needs by expanding drilling in existing sites and exploring new ones.