Oil was on a downward trend for the year 2000, going from almost $40 a barrel to $20. Then Republicans took over. By May of this year it was around $120 (and all this is adjusted for inflation) and we have seen it go higher still after that. For something that costs about $4 to pump our of the ground in Saudi Arabia, that's a pretty good profit margin...Even Bill Gates is envious.
Of course this is not adjusted for the massive subsidies the US Government provides for oil, notably the cost of the Iraq War at $200 Billion a year even if you take the low end of the possible numbers.
See for yourself with this handy chart how oil prices have gone since 2001.
Republicans want to open up all of the now protected coastal United States to drilling and make the absurd claim that we can drill our way out of high gas prices. This lie is so transparent even Windex would be proud. Oil that couldn't reach refineries for 7-10 years and would amount to less than 3% of supplies even then could not have a significant effect on prices. Americans have already reduced oil demand by more than the effect of drilling everywhere in the USA by instigating the largest reduction in car driving in American history and prices are still at stratospheric levels.
There are at least three obvious actions that we could take as a government to reduce oil prices and thereby gas prices and their companion burden on the American economy:
1. End the Iraq War. You want more oil? End the war and I swear somebody will find a way to get Iraq oil out of the ground and into your tank. Don't get me started on the magnificently corrupt Iraqi Oil authority and the just announced agreement to give four big oil corporations a monopoly. I question whether that action will stand anyway.
2. End oil speculation. Somebody deserves to lose a crap load of money for driving up the prices of oil futures. Barack Obama states that he will act to end speculation immediately. This is such a no brainer even a Republican could have thought of it if they cared...They don't!
3. Immediately instigate Conservation measures and measures that discourage the consumption of oil. Not once has the Bush Administration acted to reduce our oil consumption, and frankly, every action they have taken, from starting the Iraq War to giving take breaks for gas guzzlers, has done just the opposite with corresponding corrosive effects on the American economy.
Long term we go for energy reduction and alternative energy research and implementation, and build our new economy on the corresponding growth industry that would result.
As for conservation measures, the American public is instituting their own driving reductions with no help from the Bush Administration other than the noteworthy Bush incompetence. We are now seeing calls for a return to the 55 mph speed limit and I think there is something to that, only I want to change it slightly...
I propose that we give colored license plates to identify vehicles that get 25 miles per gallon or better on the highway and let them go 70 in the left lane. Everybody else has to slow down and conserve fuel or we arrest and fine them a few tanks of gas.
Take THAT, Hummers!
I'm still pretty pissed off about the Congressional cave in on FISA. Why would we want to encourage Telcom Corporations to knowingly break the law by giving them immunity? The larger issue is why would we want to give the Bush Administration immunity from breaking the Constitution?
Keith Olbermann: "If this gets in through the Senate there's no way to get it out again, is there? I mean, the history of this nation in terms of lost civil liberties is pretty bad about restoring them."
John Dean: "Well I spent a lot of time reading that bill today and it's a very poorly drafted bill. One of the things that is not clear is whether it's not possible later to
go after the telecoms for criminal liability. And that's something Obama has said during this campaign he would do - unlike prior Presidents who come in and merely give their predecessor a pass, he said, 'I won't do that.' And that might be why he's just sitting by saying, 'Well, I'm just gonna let this go through but that doesn't mean I'm gonna give the telecom a pass.' I would love it if he gets on the Senate floor and says, 'I'm keeping that option open.'