NEW YORK - Americans could be paying $5 for a gallon of gasoline by 2012, thanks to growing global demand for oil, tighter supplies, and inadequate responses by the U.S. government, according to former President of Shell Oil John Hofmeister in a recent interview with Platts Energy Week television.

"If we stay on our current course, within a decade we're into energy shortages in this country big time," said Hofmeister, who retired from Shell in 2008 and now heads a grass-roots group called Citizens for Affordable Energy.

Hofmeister projected "blackouts, brownouts, gas lines, rationing," and lack of sufficient energy for American consumers, causing oil companies to increasingly look outside the U.S. for drilling options. Watch Hofmeister's interview online.

Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst with Oil Price Information Service (OPIS), said Americans will see gasoline prices hit the $5 a gallon mark in the next decade, but not by 2012, reported by

A recent OPIS study indicated fuel prices are up 13.6 percent from last December and 76 percent higher than December 2008.