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Oil Gives Economy Both Barrels

March 5, 2012 1 minute Read by Four Percent

Liam Denning, The Wall Street Journal Most drivers are familiar with the nagging refrain of "Are we there yet?" But with gasoline heading back to $4 a gallon on average, it takes on more urgency: Oil can't go much higher without derailing the economy. Brent crude oil is back above $120 a barrel. Looked at on a 12-month rolling average, it is now 6% above its prior 2008 peak. U.S. gasoline demand is down almost 7% year-on-year. This year, Europe is forecast to consume 10% less oil than it did in 2008. Global demand is still forecast to rise, but only in emerging markets. Oil's high price greases this transfer of demand from the West to the rest. While mature economies are forced to brainstorm efficiencies, emerging markets offset the pain with faster economic growth and, often, consumer subsidies. Read More

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