I hate it when these reporters say things like, "But that's nothing compared to European gas prices, which are already at $9 a gallon..."
He's basically implying, "You never know what we could handle though. It might not be so bad after all." But he's stupid, because...
WE'RE NOT EUROPE!
Even if you consider Europe one big country, they are SMALL compared to the USA. Now in the more heavily populated areas of this country, we could build efficient mass transit. But how much of our country is rural, farmland, and spread out? A LOT of it, percentage-wise.
I know it was stupid, but this country was built and designed around CHEAP GAS. That is something the peak-oilers have right. Suburbs 1/2 hour or 1 hour from the nearest city DO NOT WORK if you have to spend $9 a gallon on gas. And we don't have small cars like the Euros either -- I know, it's our fault, but don't claim that we won't have armageddon here if gas shot up to $9 -- because we would.
Unless convenient, ubiquitous mass transit magically appears, and everyone magically gets a light, Euro car at the same time as $9 gas, there WILL be a shock, there WILL be riots, and you WILL NOT enjoy those times if you live in the USA. They would probably have to ration gas and impose martial law.