Billionaire energy investor T. Boone Pickens expects oil—currently priced over $71—to reach $85 by the end of the year.
“That depends on the Chinese, they’re driving this. Their demand is up,” Pickens said in an interview on CNBC Wednesday. “We’ll see how it turns out, but I’m counting on $85 by the end of the year.”
Pickens, chairman of BP Capital Management, said that the United States could reduce its dependency on foreign oil by starting to switch the 8 million heavy-duty trucks on the road to run on natural gas. “That will cut OPEC in half,” he said.
Pickens is also the founder of the Pickens Plan, an energy policy proposal that pushes natural gas and other alternative energy resources such as wind and solar to reduce foreign oil consuption in the US.
In 20 years, he expects most vehicles to be running on batteries. “But today a battery won’t move an 18-wheeler. The only thing we have to replace diesel is natural gas. That’s why I say start there,” he said.
As for President Barack Obama’s promise in 2008 that the US would eliminate using Mideast oil in 10 years, Pickens thinks it’s still possible.
“I’m confident we’re going to have an energy plan for America,” Pickens said. “We have to move to our own resources. I think we’re going to get there.”
He added that the President should make an executive order that all federal vehicles purchased run on domestic fuel, which could be hybrid, ethanol, battery or natural gas vehicles.
“I don’t care what it is,” he said. “Just so it’s American. I want off of OPEC oil.”