$200 per barrel oil & $6 per gallon gasoline

Arjun N. Murti, an oil analyst at Goldman Sachs — who predicted $100 per barrel oil back in 2005 — is now predicting a “super-spike” that could soon drive oil prices to $200 per barrel.

Mr. Murti, 39, argues that the world’s seemingly unquenchable thirst for oil means prices will keep rising from here and stay above $100 into 2011.

Others disagree, arguing that prices could abruptly tumble if speculators in the market rush for the exits.

But the grim calculus of Mr. Murti’s prediction, issued in March and reconfirmed two weeks ago, is enough to give anyone pause: in an America of $200 oil, gasoline could cost more than $6 a gallon.

That would be fine with Mr. Murti, who owns not one but two hybrid cars. “I’m actually fairly anti-oil,” says Mr. Murti, who grew up in New Jersey. “One of the biggest challenges our country faces is our addiction to oil.”

High prices, he says, “send a message to consumers that you should try your best to buy fuel-efficient cars or otherwise conserve on energy.” Washington should create tax incentives to encourage people to buy hybrid cars and develop more nuclear energy, he said.

Of course, if lawmakers heed his advice, oil analysts like him might one day be a thing of the past. That’s fine with Mr. Murti.

“The greatest thing in the world would be if in 15 years we no longer needed oil analysts,” he says.

From The New York Times.

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