Energy investor T. Boone Pickens speaks at a press conference promoting natural gas as an energy source. (Photo by Ryan Kelly/Congressional Quarterly)
In large parts of the country gas prices are just below $3 per gallon. And in an interview conducted on Monday at the Concordia Summit in New York City, T. Boone Pickens, the billionaire oil tycoon, was asked whether he thinks these prices are here to stay.
Pickens first noted the counter intuitive nature of the oil price drop given the recent unrest in the Middle East and the fact that just six years ago consumers were paying around $4 and $5 per gallon at the pump. When asked for the explanation, he pointed to the uptick in U.S. oil production.
“The United States has changed the whole landscape for oil, I’m talking about globally. We’re using more oil, we’re using 92 million barrels in the world every day, and that’s the most oil that we’ve ever used in the world,” he said. “So, oil demand is going up, and, by golly, oil supply — the additions that have been added to it — come from the United States.”
But according to Pickens, the future of long-term oil prices is directly tied to natural gas and its use in American automobiles.
“Today, if you went out and shopped for a natural gas passenger car, you know what you see? One Honda GX Civic and you can get the Ford F-150 pickup,” he said, adding: “If we were in Paris, France, tonight, and we were going down to shop for a passenger car, you’d see 40 that you could buy.”
But although he thinks the United States will eventually head toward natural gas cars, he refused to predict when, noting that his past market predictions feature “good direction [but] questionable timing.”