Oil Prices at Record High; Experts Look for Fallout

Oil prices have hit another record, topping $82 a barrel. Despite the rising cost of energy, the global economy keeps growing. But some observers wonder how long that can last.

Texas oil investor T. Boone Pickens says he expects oil prices to continue their meteoric rise. He predicts the price of oil will hit $100 a barrel, although probably not this year.

Both consumers and companies are better able to withstand high oil prices than they used to be. Energy is a smaller part of the average household budget than it was a generation ago. And businesses, on average, are twice as energy efficient.

Economist Mark Zandi of Moody's Economy Web site says that rising oil and gasoline prices have not necessarily pulled up the price of other goods.

"Manufacturers are under a lot of competitive pressure from overseas. So it's very difficult for them to pass through their higher energy costs," Zandi said. "That's one of the reasons why the surge in energy prices has not affected broader inflation and thus been a significant problem for the economy."

Even the price of gasoline has not kept pace with the most recent run-up in crude oil prices.

While the price of crude oil has climbed by $10 a barrel in the last month, gasoline prices barely budged nationwide, suggesting refiners and retailers have largely absorbed the increase. But eventually, higher oil prices may translate into higher prices at the gas pump.

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