Former Shell President: Gas could be $5 a gallon by 2012 - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Former Shell President: Gas could be $5 a gallon by 2012

(CNN) - If you don't like seeing $3 a gallon for gas, just wait.

Former Shell president John Hofmeister predicts it could be $5 a gallon by 2012. The main reason being that the rest of the world is growing, and millions of new consumers in emerging markets are eager to enter the middle class and drive cars and stronger economies overseas mean factories are humming and using a lot more oil.

As the rest of the world grows, supplies will be stretched.

"Well, I'm predicting the age of the energy abyss hits this nation between 2018 and 2020," said Hofmeister. "If we just do the math, do the curves, on what we're not doing and what we should be doing, and we just overlay a normal typical economy, the 20th century energy system was great but it is old and we're not replacing it with a 21st century energy system which needs a combination of old and new."

Old, like more drilling, but new as well, like solar, wind, renewables and new technology.

Gas prices last week crossed the $3 mark for the first time since October 2008.

"What we're looking for by the end of this decade, in my opinion, black outs, brown outs with unpredictable impact on the largest most dense population centers like the New York metropolitan area, like southern California, like the middle Atlantic," said Hofmeister. "All the places where people love to live are going to have shortages of electricity."

Other analysts say $5 gas is possible, but maybe more like a decade out, not in 2012.

AAA says gas prices are up four percent from a month ago and up 16 percent from this time last year.

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