1982 pickup in US oil use seen

An expected drop in oil prices next year could spark a modest rise in US demand, reversing a three-year slump in oil use in the world's largest oil-consuming nation, forecasts Dr. John Lichtblau, an oil economist with the Petroleum Industry Research Foundation Inc.

Growth in the gross national product over the year should cause US energy consumption to increase slightly, particularly if the real price should decline somewhat as he now expects, says Mr. Lichtblau, who heads the US oil industry's research arm.

Meanwhile, in the short term, oil expert Dan Lundberg says gasoline pump prices may jump 7 cents a gallon within 90 days. Reduced imports from OPEC countries and increased reliance on domestic exploration favor higher prices by the end of the year, he says.A rise in prices could occur because of deferred inflation: The cost of making gasoline has continued unabated while low demand held prices down, he says.

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