Caterpillar chief Doug Oberhelman told CNBC Monday that battered oil prices will create short-term pain for his company in 2015, but not as much as the slowdown in mining has had in recent years.
"It won't be like we've seen in mining or some of our big cycles in the past," he said of energy prices. "The mining business is definitely bouncing off the bottom."
But ultimately economic growth drives everything, he continued, "[and] economic growth has been slow and that's been the real cause of a lot of the lack of growth for many of us."
Lower oil and gasoline prices may end up helping, he said. "The giant 'stimulus program' we've all just been blessed with will work its way through eventually."
But in the near term, he said uncertainty rules. "I think most of our customers are kind of talking 'get through the holidays, get into January, see what happens to oil prices' before they make major decisions."
Oberhelman appeared on CNBC's "Squawk Box" ahead of ringing the opening bell on the New York Stock Exchange to mark the heavy equipment maker's 85 years as a publicly traded company.
Dollar strengthening will impact Caterpillar's top line, but not as much as on the bottom line, he said.