A worst-case scenario

05/08/2006
When will oil prices recede? No one knows. The conditions that will cause prices to recede are clear: lower demand and higher supply. Policy mistakes that would delay or distort those conditions are clear, too: punitive taxes, breaking up oil companies, price controls, tax holidays on gasoline, and other such mischief under frenzied discussion in Washington, DC.Whatever the timing, oil prices will fall. Demand cannot rise against limited supply forever. At some point prices become not just annoying but intolerable. At some point consumers quit whining and start conserving. By then, new supply emerges where allowed to do so.This can happen gradually or suddenly, the latter being the more p...
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