Exxon CEO: $4 Gas May Be Breaking Point For Many Families
March 10, 2011
Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson said he doesn't think the recent jump in oil prices is hurting the U.S. economy — at least, not yet.
The head of the world's largest publicly traded oil company said that in 2008, when oil surged to near $150 per barrel, Americans didn't change their driving and spending habits until gasoline prices topped $4 per gallon. Average gas prices peaked at $4.11 in July that year.
"I don't know if that tip-over is still at the same $4 level or not," Tillerson told reporters at the New York Stock Exchange. "We'll see."
Oil is now about $104 per barrel after rising more than 20 percent over three weeks because of civil unrest in Libya. Tillerson hasn't seen any reduction in the demand for fuel from consumers or businesses.
The national average price for a gallon of gas has increased 40 cents to $3.52 in the same period.
Drivers on the West Coast are already paying close to $4, however, and prices are expected to rise through spring and summer.
Gas at $4 a gallon "creates some real challenges" for average American families and their household budgets. When the price rises above that, it's a "significant emotional event for a lot of people," he said.