The Role of the Consumer Mindset in the Cost of Energy

BY Murrey Jacobson  December 23, 2011 at 5:36 PM EDT

Violence in Iraq and Syria.

New tensions between Iran and western nations.

Unrest in Bahrain and Kazakhstan.

As oil hovered around $100 a barrel Friday, those were some of the day’s major international developments that were helping to drive up the cost of oil once again over concern about what it could mean for a fairly tight global supply of crude. In fact, when the NewsHour covers oil’s rise and fall, we traditionally focus on the role of geopolitics. But just as important — in fact, more important — in determining what it costs to fill up your car is our own use of oil. That’s gotten more attention of late as Detroit began shifting its approach to the American auto market and questions of energy efficiency.

Jeffrey Brown talked to energy expert author Daniel Yergin about the impact of consumer behavior on the elasticity of oil prices. Jeff spoke recently with Yergin, known for his epic work, “The Prize,” about his latest book on the global search for new energy sources called “The Quest.” You can watch their discussion on Friday’s NewsHour broadcast. In the meantime, you can watch Yergin discuss oil prices and the consequences of the Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan.