In the late 1970's, during the second Arab oil embargo, I started working weekends at the Exxon gas station right across the highway from what was then the GM plant in Linden, New Jersey. This assured me of a regular supply of gasoline. Even now, I sometimes pump my own gas at my local station. They know me, they work on my car, they know I used to work at a gas station in my young years, and they know that I know what I'm doing.
I'll do it again if I have to, and it's entirely possible that America will be seeing gas lines again:
Major banks warned on Thursday an output loss from another oil producer after Libya would lead to global shortages and demand rationing and said OPEC needs to act quickly as the oil rally could derail economic recovery.
Goldman Sachs issued a note saying the world would not be able to cope with another Libya-style oil production outage as Brent oil prices rallied by over $8.50 a barrel to near $120 a barrel.
Italian oil firm ENI, a key Libyan oil player, said the OPEC member had lost three quarters of its production.
"This makes the risks now associated with further contagion much higher than they were several days ago as further disruptions could now create severe shortages in global oil markets that would require substantial demand rationing," Goldman Sachs analyst Jeffrey Currie said.
Barclays Capital and Citi said it saw no downward pressure on prices until more oil comes to the market.
"Unless we see an explicit move from ... producer countries, i.e. Saudi Arabia, I don't think there is necessarily going to be any downward pressure on (oil) prices," said BarCap analyst Amrita Sen.
Mark Fletcher from Citi agreed that OPEC leader Saudi Arabia needed to take action within weeks. "To date we have had a lot of words from Saudi Arabia ... but they haven't done anything yet and we need to see that action."
Now granted, this is Goldman Sachs and Citibank, two of the most companies that got us into this financial mess...and their executives are no doubt rubbing their hands together with glee at the prospect. But for those too young to remember the oil shocks of the 1970's, who are used to driving SUVs and spending 40 bucks to fill up the tank, this is what it looked like:
The dollar-a-gallon gasoline that resulted from those oil shocks took us into a bad recession. Imagine what five-dollar-a-gallon gasoline will do right now.