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Why Oil is Cheap at $80

|Includes: CVX, The United States Oil ETF, LP (USO), XTO
If you think oil is expensive here at $80, look again. The Department Energy chart below of US oil consumption per unit of output shows that, in fact, we are at a 40 year low in the price of crude. In other words, it takes half as much oil to produce a unit of GDP than it did in the late sixties, when 12 miles per gallon was considered reasonable, and only Lincoln Continentals got abused because they consumed a gluttonous six miles per gallon. This is the why current lofty prices are having a negligeable effect on a reviving economy. The other chart shows the price of oil in inflation adjusted terms. Again, we are at the high end of the range, but nowhere near the top. What’s the lesson in all of this? If the price of oil is not hurting now, then it will move a lot higher to where it does hurt big time. When the US gets back on track, and the emerging markets return to firing on all 12 cylinders, triple digit oil is a gimme, and new highs will easily be attainable. Then you can expect the current perfect correlation between rising stock and crude prices to shatter. Make sure you maintain exposure to the oil patch, either through majors like Chevron (NYSE:CVX) (click here ), oil service companies like XTO Energy (XTO) (click here ), the Russian market ETF (NYSEARCA:RSX) (click here), or just the plain vanilla Oil Trust ETF (NYSEARCA:USO). If noting else, these names will help immunize your portfolio against the certainty of higher fuel prices. If you are wondering where the “W” recession might come from, this is it.