Monday, April 28, 2008

Pumping Up Gas Prices

high oil priceCongress held a hearing Thursday to find ways to encourage the world's oil producers to boost supplies even as crude oil prices hit a record $119 dollars a barrel last week.

One suggestion by lawmakers is to have the Bush administration temporarily stop buying 70,000 thousand barrels a day to fill the strategic petroleum reserve.

Democratic Congressman Ed Markey of Massachusetts, chairman of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, said of the plan:
“At $119 a barrel, taking significant quantities of oil off of the market to fill the Strategic Petroleum Reserve is like throwing chum into the feeding frenzy of speculation happening on trading floors across the world. By continuing to purchase oil at these record prices, the Bush administration is aiding and abetting the highway robbery of American consumers at the pump.”
In testimony to the committee, Dr. Mark Cooper, Research Director of the Consumer Federation of America, testified on the rising cost of gasoline on American consumers:
We estimate that over the past six years household expenditures on gasoline and motor oil have doubled, rising by more than $1200. In a national poll we conducted earlier this month we found that 73 percent of respondent are greatly concerned about rising gasoline prices and 60 percent of respondents are greatly concerned bout mid-East imports. Thus, the pocketbook and national security implications of our nation’s “addiction to oil” are “top of mind for consumers.”
Cooper went on to tell the committee that current high gas and oil prices are the result of a long term combination of an international crude oil cartel and a tight domestic refining oligopoly both of which have systematically under-invested in production capacity.

Other lawmakers threatened to hold up arms sales to Saudi Arabia if the world's largest oil exporter doesn't boost production.

Meanwhile, gas prices continue to soar to record levels above $3.50 a gallon. And in some places in the country, gas now costs over $4.00 a gallon.

Source: House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming

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