Bob Robbins, economics forecaster from Atlanta, said America has put too much reliance on foreign oil and continues to pay the price.
Mr. Robbins told the Civitan Club on Friday he would not be surprised if oil hits $100 per barrel.
He noted it is a finite resource, and said peak production is nearing.
"One of our biggest mistakes was putting our destiny economically and politically in the hands of Middle East oil producers," he said.
Mr. Robbins said the oil reliance has enriched leaders like Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein and led to U.S. entanglement in Middle East wars.
He said the U.S. should not have retreated from nuclear energy, saying other countries are using it safely.
The speaker at the meeting at the Bessie Smith Hall said China is building a nuclear reactor designed in the U.S. that is touted as being "melt-down free."
Mr. Robbins said it takes 5-10 years to build a nuclear plant. He said even if the U.S. started building the plants now "we would still be behind the curve of when the peak of oil production hits."
He said oil prices have been between $10 and $40 a barrel, but he said the new range may be $40 to $100 a barrel.
As a result, he said oil stocks are a good investment. He also said technology stocks are in pretty good shape.
He said he does not expect interest rates to go much higher, saying the Federal Reserve will proceed cautiously. He said he does not believe inflation is a significant threat at this time.
Mr. Robbins is from Chattanooga and is the brother of Civitan member and former president Jim Robbins.