Crude Heading Down to $80 a Barrel: Merrill Executive

Decreased global demand will push the price of oil to about $80 a barrel in the coming months, Merrill Lynch Vice Chairman Tom Petrie said on CNBC.

"I think it's pretty clear demand elasticities have been triggered in a way that will take prices lower," Petrie said. "I do think $80 to $90 is probably where the floor is."

Pertrie said the importance of high energy prices cuts across the economy, from pressures on corporate balance sheets to consumers, who will not be able to escape recessionary pressures until gas prices abate.

"At $100 it's still a real tax on the consumer," he said. "With all the other credit questions in the economy, it's not just the tax at $100 or $90, it's all these other financial issues that have to work their way through the economy. I think it's the combined effect that's working it's way through consumer behavior."

Petrie said consumers won't get substantial belief until oil breaks below $100.