Thursday, February 16, 2012

A Crude Iranian Conflict

If an outbreak of Persian hostility
Brings petroleum price volatility,
The economy's cooling
From trouble in fueling
The engine of upward mobility.

Tensions with Iran over its nuclear program have introduced a new round of uncertainty into global strategic affairs, but one thing is definite: if Iranian supply is taken off the market, rising oil prices would impinge on almost every aspect of the US economy. Higher gasoline prices would cause consumers to cut back on discretionary spending, as most have a limited ability to cut back on driving. Manufacturers would be hurt both from higher delivery costs as well as higher prices for plastics and other petroleum-based materials. Even many service industries maintain fleets of vehicles and would feel the effects of a Persian Gulf conflict. The one bright spot at this point is that the prospect of $4.50 gasoline, as in 2008, appears as yet remote.

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