5 bucks a gallon for gas by 2012?

A former president of Shell Oil has predicted that Americans will be paying $5 for a gallon of gasoline by 2012. He blames growing global demand for oil, tighter supplies and inadequate responses by the U.S. government.

John Hofmeister made his comments during a taped interview Dec. 1, and it aired last weekend on Platts Energy Weektelevision an independent, all-energy news and talk show.

Hofmeister retired from Shell in 2008 and now heads a grass-roots group called Citizens for Affordable Energy.

Here's more of what he said:

"If we stay on our current course, within a decade we're into energy shortages in this country big time."

"Blackouts, brownouts, gas lines, rationing--that's my projection based upon the current inability to make to make decisions. The politically driven choices that are being made, which are non-choices, essentially frittering at the edges of renewable energy, stifling production in hydrocarbon energy--that's a sure path for not enough energy for American consumers. When American consumers are short or prices are so high--$5 a gallon for gasoline, for example, by 2012--that's going to set a new tone. It's going to be panic time for politicians. They're suddenly going to get the sense that we better do something."

"What I fear the most is that by 2012 prices will be so high that we'll have a backlash from the electorate and we'll go into reverse and will go back to as hydro-carbon only type of future with maybe some nuclear, instead of moving on into the 21st century."

To access the full interview, click here.

Energy executives also offered their views on the greatest challenges facing the energy industry ahead. To access these comments, click here.