09
Jun
08

Should we try and lower fuel prices?

I might not need to ask Spanish truck drivers and French fishermen to know their answer, but there’s a fierce debate surrounding the fuel prices that are affecting everyone’s live. There are protests all over the world. Here are some of the arguments being made.

1. High fuel prices are tough in the short-term but they will force people to change their lifestyles and the level of their fuel consumption. This is essential if the world is to wean itself off oil and if we’re to protect our environment.
2. Free-market capitalism is punishing the ordinary man and woman. The current price surge has nothing to do with there not being enough oil, and everything to do with venture capitalists seeing good money to be made. If governments can’t directly intervene, they should help ease at least the impact this has on the people they serve by lowering fuel tax or paying subsidies.

3. OPEC has plenty more oil and it’s just not releasing it. You can see this as OPEC planning in the long-term and making sure we manage our resources carefully. This is more important for all us than the short-term problems of high prices. Or you can see it as OPEC doing nothing to help people around the world who are feeling the pinch.

4. We shouldn’t try and lower fuel prices, not for the environment, but because the world is capitalist and we should let the market play this out. Prices may well drop.

Where do you stand on this?

Why the high prices? This does a good job of explaining.


167 Responses to “Should we try and lower fuel prices?”


  1. June 9, 2008 at 15:10

    Should we try to lower fuel prices?

    NO! Jack them up!
    Irresponsible consumer habits and lifestyles will not change on goodwill alone. History has proven this. We do not think towards the future, we are irresponsible with our resources. Financial pressure will be the quickest and most effective way to steer ourselves away from this cliff which we are racing blindly towards in our personal tanks and busses.

  2. 2 steve
    June 9, 2008 at 15:17

    @ Brett

    It won’t work in the US. People live too far away to walk everywhere. People would have to abandon those homes, and would mean many more people living in urban areas, driving up prices of rent/etc… Plus we don’t have the public transportation system that europe has. We would have to build more, and everywhere. where would the money come from?

  3. 3 Mohammed Ali
    June 9, 2008 at 15:21

    Regarding the issue of high fuel prices and and almost world wide demostrsation taking place due to this, the problems in my view stem from two points:
    1. The war being waged basically on those countries that are responsible for the production of crude in the middle east, also the west which is basically the highest consumer of energy in the world doesn’t also want to cultivate good relationships with other oil producing countries outside of the middle east like Russia, Venezuela, etc. etc.
    2. There are other countries whose economies are now developing at a higher rate and basically crude oil is the driving force behind those economies, like China, India, Brazil, and even some African countries, and etc. With this in mind, naturally the demand for oil will increase and the suppliers are not producing the quantity demanded hence the percieve high price. Even if the supplies were high, the price will still rise because of the supply-demand factor.

    In order to avert major crisis that will result, the west needs to rethink her policies both on the middle east and other oil producing countries like Russia and Venezuela.

  4. 4 Will Rhodes
    June 9, 2008 at 15:23

    There is one country where the price of fuel should be going down – and that country is Britain!

    Oil per barrel has gone up to 140 bucks per barrel but the dollar is so weak against the pound and dropping. The pound buys far more than the dollar and in comparison the price is stable. But still the oil companies in the UK are pushing the price up.

    The British people are being fleeced and they accept it!

  5. June 9, 2008 at 15:26

    Plus we don’t have the public transportation system that europe has
    And we need to do something about that, US Public transportation in most major cities and suburbias is pathetic. I think we need an adequate assesment of individual public transport systems and the needs of the people who live in those regions, as all of the factors differ greatly. Once we have that we can look into what money needs to be spent and where it will come from.
    You can’t just slap some busses on the roads and call it a day. Richmond seems to have done just that.

  6. 6 EM
    June 9, 2008 at 15:27

    Being a free market economist, I think that the market should decide the price of oil. However, when you think about it, the market isn’t really setting the price for oil, since OPEC exists. Oligopolies, monopolies, etc. all create inefficiencies in the market – I guess that makes the real issue pretty clear… get rid of the inefficiencies, the market will stabilize and we will be paying the correct price for oil.

    Much, much easier said than done, I know…

  7. 7 Laura in Mukwonago,WI (formerly Minneapolis)
    June 9, 2008 at 15:31

    This is a tough one. On one hand i think the rising cost of fuel is the only way to ween people off their dependence on it. On the other hand, rising fuel prices means rising EVERYTHING prices, because things like food and other goods must get from place to place. Restaurants for example are having to pay more and more to get the food, and then have to raise the prices on the menu in response.

    Laura in Mukwonago

    p.s. In case you’re curious… Yes, it’s true. I’ve moved out of the big city for the summer to the summer camp I work at, located in the glamorous Mukwonago, WI.

  8. June 9, 2008 at 15:34

    See Terry Tamminen: Lives per Gallon. The motor producers had trashed the tram lines so we could not go back. Thugs!
    With such a culture Hitlerites must be finished off democratically fast.

  9. 9 Julie P
    June 9, 2008 at 15:35

    OPEC is not acting as a good shepherd to managing such a vital energy source. They hardly the good Samiritans; they are capitalist just like their cusomters, and, like they did during the 70’s they will act in their own best interests. The problem is complex beginning with greedy oil sheiks, greedy investors, greedy oil companies, and growing demand. In this situation I believe that it is time that we began drilling in the Four Corner states in their fertile oil shale. We have the technology to get it safely, and there is an estimated 1.2 trillion barrels of oil there. Let’s go for it!

  10. June 9, 2008 at 15:45

    I bet this topic will linger on for quite some time unless world leaders do something very urgent about it.
    However, the crux of the matter here is that I am a little exasperated by mankind’s over-dependence on fuel products – cars, diesel engine motors, petrol generators and the rest seems to have taken us all hostage.
    If the age of invention and innovation is not history, then I am calling on our scientists to do something urgently to find a vaible alternative to curb our obsession for this unsustainable resource.

  11. 11 Richard Helm, Vancouver Canada
    June 9, 2008 at 15:46

    Current Oil prices are mainly the result of huge demand for oil in spite of rising prices. Consumers are showing that they are willing to pay much higher prices for gas rather than buy smaller vehicles, drive less, take public transit more and use fewer petroluem based products. If we want to lower prices we should lower demand and look for alternatives. This will considerably impact the price of oil. Yes there are market forces (Opec, traders, corporations) which take advantage of current panick about prices, however these same forces can drive the prices down quickly to maintain revenue if consumers begin to walk away from their addition to petroleum.

  12. 12 Richard Helm, Vancouver Canada
    June 9, 2008 at 15:49

    Current Oil prices are mainly the result of huge demand for oil in spite of rising prices. Consumers are showing that they are willing to pay much higher prices for gas rather than buy smaller vehicles, drive less, take public transit more and use fewer petroluem based products. If we want to lower prices we should lower demand and look for alternatives. This will considerably impact the price of oil. Yes there are market forces (Opec, traders, corporations) which take advantage of current panic about prices, however these same forces can drive the prices down quickly to maintain revenue if consumers begin to walk away from their addiction to petroleum.

  13. 13 steve
    June 9, 2008 at 15:51

    @ Brett

    But real public transit costs $$$ and nobody will be willing to pay for it. There are also attitudes towards public transit that are not good. I occasionally take the bus home if I go to Trader Joes in Foggy Bottom, as taking the metro with bags of groceries during rush hour sucks. But you will listen to people on the phone, talking loudly about “Everyone who takes the bus is a loser”. They don’t even try to lower their voice.. It’s really funny to see, but that mentality is very prevelant. So if you want to perhaps date, taking the bus is a hindrance. Until attitudes towards public transit change, only people that HAVE to use it will use it.

  14. 14 Will Rhodes
    June 9, 2008 at 15:58

    Being a free market economist, I think that the market should decide the price of oil. However, when you think about it, the market isn’t really setting the price for oil, since OPEC exists.

    I made that point yesterday – IF the oil producing nations were ‘Free Market Economies’ there would be a price war and oil would be down to 10 bucks a barrel – but they are not.

    OPEC needs to be broken up!

  15. 15 Greg
    June 9, 2008 at 15:58

    No, not here in the US. Americans will just turn around and buy giant military based vehicles all over again. It is unfortunate of course that poor people must suffer this but that’s the reality of it. People here won’t even roll their windows to save the millions of dollars it cost to sit with the A/C on in traffic or driving. That behavior will take at least another 2-3 dollar increase to change. It’s just pathetic. Sorry, don’t mean to be a downer but I have a handful of friends teaching their kids he right thing to do, less A/C not talk while driving and so on. I blame Clinton.
    Greg

  16. 16 Julie P
    June 9, 2008 at 16:11

    @Greg,

    Indeed there are people in the US who, the second gas prices go down, will buy the gas guzzling SUVs. The lesson was not learned in the 70’s. I bought an economy car in the late 90’s when they were nearly giving gas away. I looked at the sales person and told him I remember the 70’s, and this car will do just fine. Not all Americans like big cars, I don’t and neither does anyone in my family. We conserve and have since the 70’s. One more thing, Clinton has nothing to do with this. This is something that we began preparing for in the 70’s, but didn’t follow through with.

  17. June 9, 2008 at 16:12

    If OPEC was broken up as Bush attempted to do 8 years ago upon entering Iraq and oil became free on the market it would only drain the supply faster. While that may be a valid principle in a capital market, it does nothing to address the damage to the environment.

    Compounded is the fact that if all that oil is pushed onto the fuel market it will come down to threatening the supply of everything else made from petroleum. Regardless of how long it takes you cannot put the blame on the next generations for what we cannot control.

  18. 18 Robert
    June 9, 2008 at 16:12

    Hi Ros

    I think that it is appalling the Gordon Brown the prime minister of the United Kingdom has departed from being the chancellor to become the prime minister of the country especially at this time of Crisises within the government and on the global financial markets. Frankly I feel that their positions are untenable and should resign immedIATLY

  19. June 9, 2008 at 16:14

    There is no need of lowering fuel prices, it’s just a matter of giving time and good leadership every thing will be fine.Am sorry but I apportion all this blame on America, there is a new saying “tamper with Arab world and buy strong shoes”.I think it’s time to buy strong shoes not strong and big cars.

  20. 20 Amaad Lone
    June 9, 2008 at 16:16

    Low interest rates by the US government to jump start the American economy are having a reverse effect.

    The cheap dollar has thrown the world economy into an oil shock, creating social turmoil around the world.

    Why is the US so stuborn about keeping a weak dollar?

  21. June 9, 2008 at 16:18

    Can’t there be a non-linear approach to fuel prices? For instance, lower fuel prices for parts of the economy where fuel is indispensable, and higher prices in cases where fuel is not a need but a convenience? All sorts of analyses would have to be made, and tariffs set up, but in principle it is doable. But this sort of system would have to be linked to clauses compelling fuel hungry entities to set about finding alternatives within a given time, or else prices go up. Just a seed of an idea….

    Otherwise, why not shift heavy taxation away from fuel and on to other non-essential and luxury commodities. Tax is the biggest part of the fuel price in most countries, isn’t it?

    The best answer: entrepreneurial minds should exploit the situation to get alternative fuels into the market.

  22. 22 Janet T
    June 9, 2008 at 16:21

    As a business owner with trucks on the road every day delivering the product we produce, I find the continual rise of oil/diesel horrifying. I cannot send out product via mass transit or bicycle. I need full size trucks with lift gates. We are doing our best to make sure we have full truck loads, retrofitting a few smaller trucks with lift gates for better fuel economy- but when the prices you pay for everything from bread to tomato plants continues to rise above what most can afford to pay- maybe those of you who are so gleeful about this will reconsider.
    I don’t drive an SUV- I walk to work- but the price of diesel is killing me and it will effect how I deal with 12 employees regarding raises, bonuses etc….

  23. June 9, 2008 at 16:25

    Will,
    you know why the price is held courtesy of the artificial inflation of dollars by OPEC, but let’s say the pound did reflect the ‘real’ price. How would you stabilize the rest of currencies? And beyond that even if you got your wish and OPEC fell how would you regulate the usage to prevent a surge that could destroy the market? Governments have shown a pretty strong affliction when it comes to sharing oil.

  24. June 9, 2008 at 16:30

    Does anybody here the tolling of the ‘bomb Iran’ bell in this discussion?

  25. 25 Momodu Wudie- Sierra Leone
    June 9, 2008 at 16:33

    The cost of (fuel) oil is a determinant factor for the economy of my country. The moment there is an increase in the cost of fuel; prices of all essential commodities will soar. In fact the cost of fuel backed up by the sky rocketing costs of food items have become a major challenge for West African Countries. Increases in fuel prices mean that there is greater demand for it. The simple Law in Economics states that the higher the demand, the higher the price. The world powers who consumed the greater part of oil should augment the oil producing countries to produce more rather than waging war on them.

  26. 26 CarlosK
    June 9, 2008 at 16:40

    Hi All

    Lowering fuel prices in order to stave-off a WORLD CRISIS is commendable but is akin to applying a band-aid in order to stanch an open-gapping wound. It simply won’t work for very long.

    The solution lies in adopting workable and environmentally friendly policies which invariably lead to reductoin in fuel consumption. But if a world crisis- the imminent collapse of the financial markets- is not serious enough to cause us to change our selfish gas guzzling habits, what will?

    Lower fuel prices would be welcomed especially in a country like Jamaica where crude oil is not yet discovered. But lower fuel prices will only excelerate and exascerbate global warming etc. Because it would cause all of us to be able to finally afford that spanking new SUV we have been dying for.

    The desire for lower fuel prices is one of the classic “caught between a rock and a hard place” scenario especially because of the negative effects it will surely have on the already vulnerable environment.

    Carlos, Kingston- Jamaica.

  27. 27 John in Salem
    June 9, 2008 at 16:44

    My commute to work costs about $100 a month more than it did one year ago and, yeah, that hurts.
    But this weekend as I rode my bike around town there were fewer cars on the road than I have ever seen. Auto makers are shutting down plants that build SUV’s and pickup truck sales have dropped off the charts. Food prices are going up and that forces us to shop smarter and eat less.
    We are nearing the point where the price of energy is going to force dramatic changes in the way Americans live in relation to the rest of the world and that, I believe, is a good thing.

    Welcome to the future.

  28. June 9, 2008 at 16:46

    @ Janet:
    but when the prices you pay for everything from bread to tomato plants continues to rise above what most can afford to pay- maybe those of you who are so gleeful about this will reconsider.

    The division I manage is part of a corporation which relies almost solely on distribution. While our division is engaged in service work, design, and installation, the main company, worldwide, is a distributor for Industrial sectors, and Aerospace among others.

    I am more than happy to see the price of fuel rise. Even if it means a rise in products across the board. My job is at stake here too, however the current irresponsible and inefficient lifestyles we lead cannot continue. Market and the environment are now telling us what we have known but chose to ignore for decades.

  29. 29 Will Rhodes
    June 9, 2008 at 16:48

    Will,
    you know why the price is held courtesy of the artificial inflation of dollars by OPEC, but let’s say the pound did reflect the ‘real’ price. How would you stabilize the rest of currencies? And beyond that even if you got your wish and OPEC fell how would you regulate the usage to prevent a surge that could destroy the market? Governments have shown a pretty strong affliction when it comes to sharing oil.

    I ask why is the US government keeping the dollar so low, they certainly don’t have to, unless you look at the wider world market where the US is borrowing hand over fist. So long as the US keeps interests rates down they have less to pay back. The stock markets are riding the unsettled US economy.

    I said yesterday – that Wall St is fleecing the US economy, on rumour!

    One word about Israel attacking Iran’s Nuclear facilities and BOOM – oil goes up to $140 – and will rise!

    All this leads us to where wage demands will be in a few months, they will be high and I mean high. That in itself will lead to extra inflation which will have to be addressed at that point.

    So far, we see a drop in the use of fuel in cars and trucks, planes. That will plateau because the demand in economies will still need to be met.

    Investors are investing in commodities rather than currencies, again, something that is being caused by the weak US dollar.

  30. 30 steve
    June 9, 2008 at 16:50

    @ John in Salem

    But you cannot have McMansions in inner cities, you can really only have them in the suburbs, hence you can forget about habits changing. The status symbol is too important for some family to move to an apartment in a city when they can have a home that is 4x too much for them. What would their friends think if they lived in a condo? perhaps they might compromise by getting the bus system to stop in front of each mcmansion as a busstop.. When a society is based upon insecurity, things will never change.

  31. June 9, 2008 at 16:57

    The dollar isn’t going to rebound quick enough even if America pulls out of the slide to catch up to oil. I don’t disagree that the price of oil should come down but this is the dilemma, until you have a sustainable alternative lowering fuel prices will only flood the supply and the poorer countries will end up getting less.

    There has to be a fair market viable alternative and we really don’t have that. The only ideal solution for the US economy is to abandon oil for fuel, it has to completely lose value for a time so it will have less enough demand. Eventually it will happen. You cannot break the surface tension when the glass is full, it has to be emptied some first.

  32. 32 Lauren
    June 9, 2008 at 17:10

    My hope is that the increase in oil prices will force people to adopt habits that aid in creating a more sustainable and environmentally friendly lifestyle. People should acknowledge their dependency on oil and consider alternative transportation sources such as walking, biking, or public transportation.I have gone without a car for over 4 years and have been doing just fine.

  33. 33 Will Rhodes
    June 9, 2008 at 17:23

    Zak – the dollar will rebound a lot quicker than the US having less reliance on oil.

    But I do and always will agree with you that a cleaner more cost effective alternative should be worked on.

    Again, as I said yesterday, the technology has been around for over 30 years to produce and deliver an alternative to oil/gas/petrol. It is just the investment that hasn’t.

    If, and I do mean IF, governments were really concerned about global warming and climate change they would not tax petroleum to death – they would give tax breaks to those entrepreneurial enough who could give us effective alternatives.

    Yet they don’t – now that brings us onto the simple question as to why?

  34. 34 Katharina in Ghent
    June 9, 2008 at 17:29

    I disagree with Steve, I think that if you put A LOT of new buses on the road, plus new connections and shorter waiting times, you can make the change very quickly, and the cities can get that money by taxing/tolling the entrances to the cities like London does it. There they drastically reduced traffic in the city by charging a serious amount of money every time you want to enter it (I’m sure Ros can give you the exact price), and they put all the money into transportation. Last time I was in London I probably saw more buses than cars. Over time the cities could then move on to build subway lines, which take longer to build.

    I also find the development of high-speed trains in North America pathetic, I`m sure there are a lot of cities that you could very nicely connect and where it would make sense economically, eg. Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal. It`s ridiculous that it takes you by train just as long as by car!

  35. 35 steve
    June 9, 2008 at 17:39

    @ Katharina

    Maybe in Europe, but not in the US. There is a “stigma” attached to taking the bus, and when peoplare are as insecure as they are in the US, you could have the bus be for free and people still wouldn’t take it if they had the ability to drive.

    If anything, the train is slower than taking a car. Putting in high speed rail in the US and canada would be too costly, so it won’t happen. The US/Canada is vastly larger than europe is. Though imagine how life would be different if you could take a high speed train, and like 200km away from where you work, presuming you could get a yearly pass like you can in Germany. If the prices are like individual tickets are in europe, a couple hour trip costing 200 euros, forget about it. not going to happen, but those rail passes would mean you could live really far away from where you work, but only spend 5000 euros per year on the pass.. For the DC area, that would be great, because housing is incredibly expensive here. if you could like 150 miles away, you could actually live within your means.. This is of course presuming the electricity to power the trains comes from some source such as nuclear energy, otherwise the burnt gas or coal or whatever making the electricity for your 150 mile commute will be pretty harmful..

  36. 36 kpellyhezekiah
    June 9, 2008 at 17:42

    The price increases on oil is not due to demand and supply!!!! OPEC is saying the truth guys. The thing to do now is to go after these wicked, insesitive people who want to hold the world to ransom. OPEC is producing more than enough to keep us going for the next 100yrs without any problems at prices which should be lower than $80 per barrel. Can we all wake up and take the bad guys out of the market? Has anybody pause to think that with all the demand that has been met this year there hasn’t been more than 10% new oil wells globally set into operation this year? Its been the same old wells with some even knocked out of production, but somehow everybody is receiving the oil needed only its at an evil, demonic, inhuman cost! How many societies have actually experienced physical shortage of crude oil since early last year? Absolutely none, except IF YOU ARE NOT PREPARED TO PAY FOR THE NEW HIGH PRICES. So guys OPEC is right. Lets fish out the bad guys from the market. This is not a case of supply and demand but of the hijacking of the oil market by unscrupulous people who don’t have a human heart. They must be thrown out and to this end I’m prepared to contribute my quota. God bless us all

  37. 37 Venessa
    June 9, 2008 at 17:43

    Will is right: “the technology has been around for over 30 years to produce and deliver an alternative to oil/gas/petrol.” It’s also unfortunate that the same people getting fat off the rising oil prices are the same people that own the patents for these alternative technologies.

    @ Katharina

    I did speak with one of my co-workers from London on Friday about the fees to drive into London daily. It is 8 pounds a day to drive your car into the city. We also figured out that he is paying over $9.50 per gallon for petrol.

  38. 38 Justin in Iowa
    June 9, 2008 at 17:48

    Reason #1 is correct.

    On a side note, reason #2 is occuring because of the crash in the housing market and economic woes. People are trying to dump their money into what they see as still having equal value, so they don’t lose out and can continue operating at a false economic level.

    This artificial oil market will see an equalization as well, just as housing has seen. So I don’t believe these oil prices will continue indefinitely. On the other hand, when oil does drop, it won’t be to previous $$ levels, and neither will gas prices necessarily follow.

    I think that the high prices suggest we take a serious look at how we transport goods in the western world. It has been some few years, but I remember a report which mentioned how freight transportation was a form of storage for companies rather than paying for warehouse space. How much of the current goods transportation network is necessary, or operating at peak efficiency? I believe that the high prices are a good thing in that they will force shipping to become much more efficient.

    On how this is effecting the truckers, lorry drivers (heh, I hope that’s the right usage, I’m no euro to know all yall’s lingo!), etc… we have just seen how they can organize. They need to put forward a unified front and universally jack up their prices! Their extra costs need to be passed up the line to the companies they move freight for, and above them to the consumers. That is how capitalism works.

    It seems to me that the truckers are missing the forest for looking at the trees. Organizing protests at the gas prices won’t help them, just turn people against them. Organizing an across the board raise in transport prices would send a much stronger and more powerful message. Money talks.

  39. 39 Shirley
    June 9, 2008 at 17:50

    Artificially lowering fuel prices is a short term solution that has no lasting benefits. Emergency supplies should be established for those in need, but the world needs to wean itself from fossil fuels and switch to sustainable energy forms.

  40. 40 John in Salem
    June 9, 2008 at 17:54

    Steve~
    I said we are nearing the point where the price of energy will FORCE change. When (not If) gas prices hit 5 bucks a gallon and keep rising you’ll begin to see some radical and long overdue change.
    We’ve lived in Mcmansions because we’ve been able to afford it. We’ve driven SUV’s because we’ve been able to afford it. We’ve made a lot of stupid choices because we’ve thought of them as somehow our birthright and that as Americans we’re entitled to them.
    True, we don’t give up our luxuries easily but that doesn’t mean we can’t be forced to give them up. Most of the things we think of as defining American culture are based on something we’ve always taken for granted – cheap gas.
    When taking that leisurely Sunday drive means shelling out 60 or 70 bucks first you’re not gonna take that drive – you’re going to walk to the park or pedal your bike.
    The days of cheap gas, and everything based on cheap gas, are history. We can choose not to adapt to that reality, in which case WE will be history.

  41. 41 steve
    June 9, 2008 at 18:01

    @ John

    I simply don’t think that will happen. People still drive in Europe, and gas has ALWAYS costed twice as much in europe as it has in the US. In the US, if driving is so expensive, it will only become a status symbol, and for approval, people will start driving around so others can think “wow, they must be wealthy”.. For Americans to give up their SUVs and their Mcmansions and to move closer to work will not happen. They might get rid of SUVs, but will not quit the Mcmansions. You’ll see rentable rooms at gas stations for soccer moms to have sex for gasoline in before the mcmansions go away.

  42. June 9, 2008 at 18:03

    There the major economic factors that are affecting oil prices. Many countries are opting for modernising their economy, needing more oil to fuel it. Another factor is the growth in tourism which is making a big demand for oil for travels by land, sea and the air. Tourist complexes are consuming a lot of energy for machines like air conditioning.

    Maybe one of the possible ways to reduce oil prices is that consumers should buy only what is essential for them. For example they should do away with luxuries for a while, like 4×4 cars. Some people must “humble” themselves and use public transport more frequently. LCD televisions shouldn’t be a fast replacement to current plasma TVs. There will be no pressure on the use of oil excessively and so the demands will drop or at least will remain the same and not soaring as it is these days.

    The USA has very large reserves of oil in Alaska and in other parts of its territories. It can use them at least to ease the demands on the international markets. The USA is a stable country. The prices will not fluctuate because of political concerns as it is now happening in the Middle East and in Nigeria. Companies should step up their searches in other parts of the world like Morocco, where there are promises that it can have important reserves.
    There should be concentrated efforts to produce energy from other sources like the sun and the wind and also from dams. In the past there was little enthusiasm for this category of energy because of its price. But if it is really necessary to pay a high price for polluting oil, threatening with the effects of global warming, it’s better to use these types of energy. At least they are cleaner. It will be an achievement if at least 50% of the world need of energy is produced from these sources. The world should be also bold to adopt nuclear energy.

    It is the fact that oil is the major source of energy that makes it shake the world economy from time to time like a big quake affecting constructions of the third degree. If people also do whatever they can to reduce their consumption of energy, directly or indirectly, there can be an abundance of oil on the market.
    It’s a difficult equation to ask people to consume less goods to lessen the demands on energy for production, as this will slow economic growth. But there is no harm in becoming thrift again for one’s own good and the good of the rest of the world.

  43. June 9, 2008 at 18:04

    The “free market’ cannot solve this one. There is not enough oil to satisfy all the current demands. The market rations by money. It would enable some to fly jets to distant resorts while other freeze in their homes.

    The world will have to ration oil by need, and press ahead with alternatives to oil.

    Agriculture will change. More people will be working on the land, hopefully as free farmers, rather than serfs on corporate prison farms.

  44. June 9, 2008 at 18:06

    Both Katherina and Steve have points, in America the only hope is alternative fueled buses and rail as all the buses in California are becoming alternative fueled. The cost of fuel otherwise will sink the bus transit systems. There is a bullet train in CA, it goes from Irvine, CA to Las Vegas in an hour that’s about 600miles. But for the cost again it’s pretty much a bust.

    In Europe you have the opportunity to do things in much smaller areas so there’s a lot more resources.

    In America we’re going to have to find a way to do mass transit without petroleum based fuels. In my local areas, all the cities have alt. fueled buses and they’re doing quite well, while the regional bus company from city to city including the ferry system is stuck on diesel and cutting routes all the time, at this rate they will go under so they’ll have to find alternative fuels.

  45. June 9, 2008 at 18:08

    It is the fact that oil is the major source of energy that makes it shake the world economy from time to time like a big quake affecting constructions of the third degree. Also, f people, especially in rich countries, do whatever they can to reduce their consumption of energy, directly or indirectly, there can be an abundance of oil on the market at reasonable prices.

  46. 46 Will Rhodes
    June 9, 2008 at 18:08

    Artificially lowering fuel prices is a short term solution that has no lasting benefits.

    No, Shirley!

    Prices are artificially high – quite the opposite of what you say. If oil producing nations were to open up the cartel oil prices would tumble.

  47. June 9, 2008 at 18:08

    I said we are nearing the point where the price of energy will FORCE change. When (not If) gas prices hit 5 bucks a gallon and keep rising you’ll begin to see some radical and long overdue change.
    We’ve lived in Mcmansions because we’ve been able to afford it. We’ve driven SUV’s because we’ve been able to afford it. We’ve made a lot of stupid choices because we’ve thought of them as somehow our birthright and that as Americans we’re entitled to them.
    True, we don’t give up our luxuries easily but that doesn’t mean we can’t be forced to give them up. Most of the things we think of as defining American culture are based on something we’ve always taken for granted – cheap gas.
    When taking that leisurely Sunday drive means shelling out 60 or 70 bucks first you’re not gonna take that drive – you’re going to walk to the park or pedal your bike.
    The days of cheap gas, and everything based on cheap gas, are history. We can choose not to adapt to that reality, in which case WE will be history.

    *Stands up and applauds*

    John hit the nail on the head with this comment!

  48. 48 Luz María Guzmán from Monterrey, Mexico
    June 9, 2008 at 18:09

    It is a tough one. In one hand, I think the rise of fuel could, at some extent, make us more aware of our unhealthy dependency to oil, but in the other hand, there are many average people and small business who are suffering greatly because of this rise. I personally would love to get rid of my car, unfortunately in my town the public transportation is completely unreliable.

    Sadly, I think the real cause of the rise of fuel is speculation rather than oil shortage. Rampant, unregulated capitalism.

  49. 49 Pravin
    June 9, 2008 at 18:10

    In India, the fuel prices are soaring a all time high. A rise Rs-5. The poor people are finding it very hard to live, The LPG had risen by Rs-50, a record i believe!!!

  50. 50 Miche Norman
    June 9, 2008 at 18:10

    The sad fact is that most of the world’s oil resources are held by some of the world’s most ansavory regimes.

    Blaming the price rise on an Israeli Minister saying that if nothing is done about a country whose president repeatedly threatens to wipe us of the face of the earth, which had developed missile capable of reaching europe so as to deliver its peaceful nuclear capabilities then we will have not choice but to act is rediculous.

    The probably lies in a few pet construction projects in the Arab Peninsular.

    Are these oil prices the biggest rip off since the Y2K Bug?

  51. 51 steve
    June 9, 2008 at 18:11

    Wow. I just saw some responsible behavior outside just now. I saw a Hummer H2 roll by, but instead of having the air conditioner turned on, and it getting 7 mpg, it had the windows down, getting maybe 8 mpg on this day where it is 98 degrees outside. We need more selfless behavior like that Hummmer H2 driver showed!

  52. 52 Justin in Iowa
    June 9, 2008 at 18:12

    I would like to challenge the point on transportation not working in the US. Its been brought up in other discussions on WHYS, while a true complete mass transit system might not work in the US, regional networks are very feasible, in my opinion, and then use, as they become available, hybrid and electric or other fuels for local travel and to reach regional network stations.

    On fuels for specific sectors… its very hard to see the US farming economy run WITHOUT fuel. Some means of rationing to extend the lifetime of all agricultural economies is important. And subsidizing of agricultural fuels until alternatives come into full usage.

  53. 53 Pravin
    June 9, 2008 at 18:12

    If the fuel prices are gonna continue to rise this way, The payscale of citizens must increase.Thats perhaps the only solution.

  54. June 9, 2008 at 18:13

    Protesting the increase in fuel prices is akin to protesting the sun rising in the morning. Fuel subsidies will only contribute to greater market inefficiency and cause more economic pain world wide.

    Stop this foolishness and do something to bring about a more efficient future.

  55. 55 Fred
    June 9, 2008 at 18:14

    I say let oil and gas prices, especially in the US go through the roof. We’ve built too much of our society and infrastructure based on the cheap cost of oil: whether it’s a 100 mile a day commute or cheap goods from Asia. If people in the UK have been able to handle gas prices that are three or four times higher than the US than those of us in the states have nothing to complain about.

  56. June 9, 2008 at 18:14

    Steve, and GMC is running from the Hummer all the way to the border! Just imagine how much truckers are burning getting less than 4 to the gallon stuck on the turnpike. My mechanic is so stoked because he has a patent on a hydrogen fuel cell battery that will almost double the mpg – but I told him even if a truck is getting 8 to the gallon it’s still not a viable alternative.

  57. 57 Neda
    June 9, 2008 at 18:15

    Yes, there are people taking advantage of the high oil prices, and surely there is some complicity in its meteoric rise, but this is an opportunity to go to clean energy.

    At the same time, we have to make sure the most vulnerable don’t suffer for the incompetence of failed politicians, business crooks and shamefully inefficient energy policies.

    In America especially, the oil addicted country thought of environmentalists and those trying to get off dirty foreign oil as ‘pink commies’ and now everyone is feeling the pain. What can you do with people who don’t listen till it’s time for the consequences?

    The next step will be when the ice melts and water levels rise, again people will want to be bailed out. We have made our bed, now we have to lie in it and hopefully going forward we will be a bit wiser and plan ahead!

  58. 58 steve
    June 9, 2008 at 18:15

    @ Brett

    Also with high gas prices, you’d hope people would walk a bit more. Walk from one end of the strip mall to the other rather than driving from the walmart to the big country buffet. What is it, 33% of americans are obese. Maybe if they walk more, that might get reduced a bit.

  59. 59 Ayo
    June 9, 2008 at 18:15

    the price of gas per gallon since last year rose over $1.60 and my salary raise was 38 cents. salary increase anyone?

  60. June 9, 2008 at 18:17

    http://goesdownbitter.wordpress.com/2008/06/09/peak-oil/

    For all the talk about the ANWR refuge, it only contains 1 and 1/2 years worth of crude oil for the U.S. Nor will drilling in the Gulf of Mexico yield more than several years worth of energy. America uses 25% of the annual crude oil production and a large part of the increase in oil is due to the demand in Asia. Gas prices have not increased as much as crude oil, so there is much more slack in gas. $5 or $6 a gallon in the U.S. is certainly possible. The $10 to $11 dollars a gallon in Europe are due to taxes that are used to support public transit.

    If the Federal Reserve raises interest rates and cuts the supply of money, then then the dollar will rise and the price of crude will come down. OPEC states that $70 a barrel is fair market but that speculators are driving the price up looking to hedge inflation. The supply of oil is sufficient and producing more will not drive the price down with a weak dollar.

  61. 61 Thea Winter - Indianapolis IN, USA
    June 9, 2008 at 18:18

    I think the market should work itself out. When governments tamper with economic forces more issues will come up. Supply and demand economics will kick in once the developing countries (India and China) stop subsidizing their fuel prices. I feel that the developed countries are paying for the developing countries increases in demand for fuel because we are believe to have the money.

  62. 62 David
    June 9, 2008 at 18:20

    I would love to put some questions if I may:

    How and why did we get to this mess?
    Are governments and the leaders (some we have had to have) to blame for this mess?
    Or is the public to blame for this mess?

    Or have we destabilised OPEC producers by our actions for them to say enough is enough?

    Please explain because I do not think OPEC is totally to blame here.

  63. 63 Heather
    June 9, 2008 at 18:23

    I live in Austin, Texas in the United States. I commute 50 miles round trip for work and there are no public transportation alternatives for my route. As a struggling single mom, I definitely feel the pain of high gasoline prices more than most people I know. It hurts financially, but I think this is the only way we as a society will invest the resources and attention necessary transition to green technologies and greater conservation. This is the painful early transition period, but I think it will be a good thing in the long run. I only worry that we’ll make bad short-term decisions before we get where we need to be.

  64. 64 Justin in Iowa
    June 9, 2008 at 18:24

    Reason #1 is correct.

    On a side note, reason #2 is occuring because of the crash in the housing market and economic woes. People are trying to dump their money into what they see as still having equal value, so they don’t lose out and can continue operating at a false economic level.

    This artificial oil market will see an equalization as well, just as housing has seen. So I don’t believe these oil prices will continue indefinitely. On the other hand, when oil does drop, it won’t be to previous $$ levels, and neither will gas prices necessarily follow.

    I think that the high prices suggest we take a serious look at how we transport goods in the western world. It has been some few years, but I remember a report which mentioned how freight transportation was a form of storage for companies rather than paying for warehouse space. How much of the current goods transportation network is necessary, or operating at peak efficiency? I believe that the high prices are a good thing in that they will force shipping to become much more efficient.

    On how this is effecting the truckers, lorry drivers (heh, I hope that’s the right usage, I’m no euro to know all yall’s lingo!), etc… we have just seen how they can organize. They need to put forward a unified front and universally jack up their prices! Their extra costs need to be passed up the line to the companies they move freight for, and above them to the consumers. That is how capitalism works.

    It seems to me that the truckers are missing the forest for looking at the trees. Organizing protests at the gas prices won’t help them, just turn people against them. Organizing an across the board raise in transport prices would send a much stronger and more powerful message. Money talks.

  65. 65 Will Rhodes
    June 9, 2008 at 18:24

    Foreign policy is to be dictated by the oil producing nations???

  66. June 9, 2008 at 18:26

    the price of gas per gallon since last year rose over $1.60 and my salary raise was 38 cents. salary increase anyone?

    Time to re-budget with your reduced disposeable income.

    Maybe eat out 1 night a month less at restaurants?

  67. 67 Will Rhodes
    June 9, 2008 at 18:26

    Does the speaker know how little people in China and India are paid?

  68. 68 rowan
    June 9, 2008 at 18:26

    Demand for oil has been going ~down~ compared to the previous years. Check the statistics. Prices are rising because oil companies are greedy and falsely manipulating the market. They have had record profits while demand decreases.

  69. June 9, 2008 at 18:27

    Re: Govt responsibility for high prices.

    Oil production has reached its peak, and therefore governments cannot pressure OPEC into raising output.

    I support the idea raised earlier, about raising taxes on casual users (like myself) while lowering taxes proportionately for those who need to get to work, or ship critical packages.

    This may help get us over the edge.
    Thanks,
    Brian

  70. June 9, 2008 at 18:31

    Maybe one of the possible ways to reduce oil prices is that consumers should buy only what is essential for them. For example they should do away with luxuries for a while, like 4×4 cars. Some people must “humble” themselves and use public transport more frequently. LCD televisions shouldn’t be a fast replacement to current plasma TVs. There will be no pressure on the use of oil excessively and so the demands will drop or at least will remain the same and not soaring as it is these days.

    There should be concentrated efforts to produce energy from other sources like the sun and the wind and also from dams. In the past there was little enthusiasm for this category of energy because of its price. But if it is really necessary to pay a high price for polluting oil, threatening with the effects of global warming, it’s better to use these types of energy. At least they are cleaner. It will be an achievement if at least 50% of the world need of energy is produced from these sources. The world should be also bold to adopt nuclear energy.

  71. June 9, 2008 at 18:32

    This problem will not get solved until we stop viewing as an “oil price” problem and start viewing it as an “energy problems.”

    We have to stop policies like those of the current administration. For instance, one that allowed a loop hole to expand in the rapid decoction clause. This in turn allowed people to buy Hummers for free. Of course you had to be wealthy enough to buy it up front. At the same time Hybrids get a 15% tax break for the first few cars sold.

  72. 72 Bryan
    June 9, 2008 at 18:33

    A work colleague of mine takes the trouble to get used oil from restaurants for next to nothing, treat and filter it and use it in his jeep. He saves a fortune on diesel. But I don’t know if this could be a practical solution on a bigger scale. People would be queuing around the block for hours outside the back doors of restaurants.

  73. 73 krisjanis
    June 9, 2008 at 18:33

    greetings!

    I think that there is a huge difference between possible short term and long term strategies; in short term- taxing the irresponsible fuel consumers can help, in long term- there is really no way to support our consumption rate, we can observe what serious consequences there are when trying projects like ‘three gorges’ dam in China.

    as serious as it would seem, an average office clerk will have to learn how to differ between edible and poisonous mushrooms in forest..

  74. 74 Anthony
    June 9, 2008 at 18:33

    You know, its our faults for not finding new ways to power automobiles and things. “Who Moved My Cheese”, right? I think deep inside, we all saw this coming for years.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  75. 75 kim morris-ward
    June 9, 2008 at 18:36

    We are Americans (USA) are just spoiled. Now the reality is hitting us. I say we just need to; buck it up; use less, buy less, drive less. Our transportation system is built around the almighty automobile. How about walking one mile to the store, it would be good for our obese population as well.

    I say it’s about time!

  76. 76 Julie P
    June 9, 2008 at 18:36

    @Will,

    Silly, oil producing nations have been dictating foreign policy for as long as I can remember. I have fuzzy memories about it starting some time in the early 70’s.

  77. 77 Tommy C.
    June 9, 2008 at 18:37

    Didn’t this whole “We’re running out of oil” scare happen in the ’70’s? This is just history repeating itself and prices will go down.

  78. June 9, 2008 at 18:38

    A work colleague of mine takes the trouble to get used oil from restaurants for next to nothing, treat and filter it and use it in his jeep. He saves a fortune on diesel.

    Bingo, for diesel, that’s only 10% of America but over half in Europe. Another thing that has to be understood though is that even non-petroleum based products suffer for the price of oil. Governments will artificially inflate alt. fuel prices in an attempt to keep the oil production increasing.

  79. 79 Blake
    June 9, 2008 at 18:39

    Gasoline prices should be set at a minimum through taxation. We’ve seen prices rise through $2/gal, $3/gal, now $4/gal. Now, because of this rise, we see greater emphasis on conservation, the car companies making radical changes to their fleets, and frank discussion like this on WHYS.

    By setting a minimum price (say $5.00/gal) through taxation, we can reduce consumption and move the profits from OPEC to the US (or local gov’t) economy. Rather than shipping those dollars overseas and into the pockets of Saudi Arabia et al, we can spend them here at home, all the while doing something good for the planet.

  80. 80 Justin in Iowa
    June 9, 2008 at 18:39

    Kim

    that is a solution for urban America. How much of the population in America still lives in an urban environment?

    I don’t see walking 15 miles to the grocery store, and then walking 15 miles back with 50 lbs of groceries on your back. Crazy.

  81. 81 Justin in Iowa
    June 9, 2008 at 18:40

    Sorry I meant
    “how much of the population in America still lives in a *rural environment”

  82. 82 Bryan
    June 9, 2008 at 18:41

    Zak,

    Yes, entrenched interests, as always.

  83. 83 Will Rhodes
    June 9, 2008 at 18:43

    Silly, oil producing nations have been dictating foreign policy for as long as I can remember. I have fuzzy memories about it starting some time in the early 70’s.

    I agree, Julie.

    As one speaker has already said on the show – THAT should have been the wake-up call.

    Now we shouldn’t have this problem – we should be driving methanol/hydrogen vehicles – personally I blame the environmentalists – if they hadn’t been so PC about nuclear power that industry would be booming.

  84. June 9, 2008 at 18:45

    How far do you walk Justin to get to the nearest store? I’ve got about 2 miles to the corner store (and it’s not very good). That involves barreling a near vertical slope through dense forest to get to the highway on the ocean and dodging traffic for another mile and a half- but I’ve done it with a 40lb sack many a time.

  85. June 9, 2008 at 18:46

    While increased fuel prices may translate into better environmental consequences, which is good, I don’t think we should accept all of the contributors to high prices.
    Specifically, the Wall Street effect. As some very knowledgeable experts testified at Senate hearings last week, 25% to 40% of the current price is readily attributable to trading speculation and could be readily erased by reinstating government regulations. Feeding this frenzy are financial companies like Morgan Stanley, which is predicting ever higher prices while maintaining some of the world’s largest holdings in oil derivatives.
    Remove these artificial contributors or make the benefactors plow that money directly into social benefits!

  86. 86 kim morris-ward
    June 9, 2008 at 18:49

    Yes, but it urban Americans did their part, it would only help everyone else. Us urbanites spend hundreds of dollars driving to the health club to work off the obesity we acquire from eating too much and not walking enough. Of course this wouldn’t work for our farmers and those in rural areas. I believe the majority of the US lives in suburban/urban areas. Here is Washington even the suburbs are within a few miles of a store. Anyway, getting off our urbanite behinds could only help everyone at least it wouldn’t hurt.

  87. 87 Abel
    June 9, 2008 at 18:49

    Abel from Portland, OR

    Is there a possibility of the systems affected by rising oil prices will accelerrate the trend toward ‘Localizing Economies’ and ‘Localvores’ (people who comsume exclusively from local sources)?

  88. 88 Pravin
    June 9, 2008 at 18:50

    A large number of poor people in India are finding it hard to even survive. But its also true that the oil prices cant be possibly lowered. I think, from here after, Its gonna be like the famous Darwin Principle,” ONLY THE FITTEST WILL SURVIVE”

  89. 89 Marilyn
    June 9, 2008 at 18:50

    No-one seems to have mentioned that millions of other human beings cannot even buy food let alone petrol while the west whine like spoiled brats.

  90. 90 Shaun from Trinidad
    June 9, 2008 at 18:51

    I believe that we should acknowledge that up until now, the main consumers of oil has been the US and Western Europe. While I do not dispute the importance of weening the World off oil I can’t help but think that its unfair to countries that are now emerging as consumers. If India an China are to develop they will need to make use of oil and as Africa begins to develop this will only further increase demand.

  91. 91 Brian Hasbrouck
    June 9, 2008 at 18:52

    According to the FT SE Asia, “in which fuel subsidies are common, will account for about 70 per cent of this year’s expected 1.03m barrels a day increase in oil consumption, according to the International Energy Agency, the energy watchdog.” (1) If this holds then we should push to have these nations lower their subsidies, and allow oil to rise. The incentive to innovate and create better technologies will occur, and the free market will take care of the rest. As a NYer I take the subway to work, part of an incredibly small minority in America, it is unfair that the government should subsidize that and not public transportation which is infinitely better for the environment.

    (1) http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/57f8fafa-2876-11dd-8f1e-000077b07658.html?nclick_check=1

  92. 92 Kyrstin Westwind
    June 9, 2008 at 18:52

    your guest’s example of it taking 15 people to push a car is flawed: as it is not CARS we need to move about, but rather people and goods. It does NOT take 15 folks to propel me on my bike, even when I am toting 4 bags of groceries home. The food co-op I shop at offers bicycle delivery of groceries to folks who cant bike.

    We need to come up with real solutions to real problems, not hypothetical ones

  93. 93 Justin in Iowa
    June 9, 2008 at 18:54

    I live 9 miles over hills ranging from 50′ – 150′ (too many to even count) rise fall from the closest grocery store. I’m 4 miles from the closest gas station. Biking that would be difficult, let alone walking it. My situation is not unique in my neck of the woods.

  94. 94 kim morris-ward
    June 9, 2008 at 18:54

    I live 2 miles to the nearest store that has decent milk, bread, eggs, that kind of thing. The big box store is 3 miles. I walk 5 miles daily just for the “fun” of it. We don’t have sidewalks though and it would make dragging a cart to the store dangerous and difficult. Our society is built around the car so much that we don’t even think about having adequate sidewalks to promote walking (same with biking). It really wouldn’t hurt us to park the car and walk,

  95. 95 Marian
    June 9, 2008 at 18:55

    Peak Oil is a Myth. Here is a quote from article pubished in Arab News in 2004….

    WASHINGTON, 29 April 2004 – Officials from Saudi Arabia’s oil industry and the international petroleum organizations shocked a gathering of foreign policy experts in Washington yesterday with an announcement that the Kingdom’s previous estimate of 261 billion barrels of recoverable petroleum has now more than tripled, to 1.2 trillion barrels.

    Additionally, Saudi Arabia’s key oil and finance ministers assured the audience – which included US Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan – that the Kingdom has the capability to quickly double its oil output and sustain such a production surge for as long as 50 years. Here’s the link to this….

    My point is that there is a much bigger story going on and it doesn’t have anything to do with oil THis is a manipulation of money and people’s fears.

    http://www.arabnews.com/?page=6&section=0&article=44011&d=29&m=4&y=2004

    There IS oil in Russia, there is more information about this as well….
    It’s just a bigger story, that’s all I’m saying.

  96. 96 Justin in Iowa
    June 9, 2008 at 18:56

    @shaun from Trinidad:

    Why should we force them to make our mistakes? We should be pioneering into new energy sources so that, rather than stagnating in an oil based economy, the developing countries can jump past.

  97. June 9, 2008 at 18:58

    The only thing that will present a viable alternative is when the fuel for vehicles reaches the halfway mark of oil use. It’s like this: methanol is made from natural gas extraction of methane and it’s a viable alternative fuel for biodiesel, but with the price of oil methanol can get the same price.

    Similarly in Rwanda now they are turning methane gases in Lake Kivu into the equivalent of 40 million tons of oil. Here the price will already be sustained by the need.

  98. 98 Julie P
    June 9, 2008 at 19:01

    @Will,

    I grew up in the 70’s it was normal to see a small a group of men holding the world hostage over oil. I remember the long gas lines, empty pumps, rampant inflation, job losses, etc. I remember Nixon (kind of) starting something because of it, and then Carter with starting the oil reserves, after that I never heard anymore. It was as if we tamed the beast we thought, but I kept scratching my head; history repeats itself, especially for those who do not learn from it. I think we can turn this situation around, but not before there is a lot of pain.

  99. 99 Justin in Iowa
    June 9, 2008 at 19:01

    I would rather buy a car that was a hybrid than flex fuel. Ethanol is no answer, just a stop gap measure that is stretching the existing gas reserves to go further than they would otherwise go. There is not the capacity to create enough ethanol to fuel America for a week let alone a year.

    At some point, you have to make the choice: Speed up production and use up oil faster – passing our problems on to our children’s generations. Or stay with current production and try to make the transition now instead of cowardly avoiding the issue.

  100. 100 Will Rhodes
    June 9, 2008 at 19:02

    The last guy on the show made my point perfectly!

    And the cost of the technology on the vehicle’s would be $200.

    Force vehicle manufacturers to adapt – or give them hefty tax breaks to do it. Windfall tax on oil profits to include the pumps at gas stations!

  101. 101 Nick in USA
    June 9, 2008 at 19:09

    Why bother trying to lower the price. This is a question about future generations. Yes, we will have to change our lifestyles, but if that means passing on a world with good public transportation, cleaner air, and less money funding terrorists, then I’m all for it.

    Laura in WI said:

    On the other hand, rising fuel prices means rising EVERYTHING prices, because things like food and other goods must get from place to place. Restaurants for example are having to pay more and more to get the food, and then have to raise the prices on the menu in response.”

    Great, so we kill two birds with one stone. If this happens, the Obesity rate in the USA might go down too. I say, it’s better to eat a little quality food, then a lot of greasy garbage oily food.

  102. 102 Stephanie
    June 9, 2008 at 19:12

    I keep hearing how the US’s fuel prices are coming ‘more in line’ with European prices; however the average income for US workers is not at all on par with average income of most major European countries. I could be wrong… But the average income for US middle-class workers are pretty shabby; and the fuel increases are really putting the crush on them.

  103. 103 Rebecca in Jamaica
    June 9, 2008 at 19:13

    Hi Ros

    Thanks for addressing this topic-

    Now that prices are on the rise, people now realise how dependent we are on oil. I think this is a major world problem- everything we do is dependent on oil. There is alot of talk about renewable sources of energy but oil is needed to power the research and power the creation of those new energy sources. Oil is needed to install and transport those new energy sources. Oil is needed to grow the sugarcane and corn for ethanol which turns out to be no energy savings after all the processing needed…I do not understand how the world is ignoring the enormous issue of dwindling oil resources and the increase in demand- something is going to give and it will be catastrophic!
    What are the barriers to shifting our oil dependency?

    Rebecca Brandt
    Jamaica

    p.s. Thanks for your great work! We love your programme!

  104. 104 Pradeep
    June 9, 2008 at 19:16

    Hi Ros,

    The protests in India have been peaceful compared to what happened in Spain or France. Probably it’s because the hike is cushioned by govt subsidy.

    The current turmoil indicates how we are held to ransom by the oil producing nations. Probably this is also the way they are getting back at the US for all that the latter has been doing to the middle east.
    They are all surely laughing all the way to the bank.

    Nations like India are so much dependent on imports’ there is not much the govt can do. Cut in duties and taxes will bring the revenue down.

    The crisis is also Nature’s way of telling us enogh of unabashed greed with which we have plundered and exploited the natural resources. We are basically hypocrats. At least most Indians only talk of conservation of fuel and natural resources. The rich are the worst.
    Few of them have the moral conviction to keep the car at home and take the public transport, which no where in India is so bad. It may not be good enough to satisfy the whims of all car owners.

    I see this as a peotic justice. Whatever be the reason for the price surge, the bottomline is clear: cut down, slow down, stop pushing at the limits, don’t be greedy, never take natural resources for granted.
    What the government can do is lead by example, afterall govt is a big spender.

    With regards,
    Pradeep

    B PRADEEP NAIR
    DEPUTY NEWS EDITOR
    THE TIMES OF INDIA,
    BANGALORE

  105. 105 steve
    June 9, 2008 at 19:17

    @ Marian

    Anything there’s a finite quantity of has a “peak”. Unless you know something I don’t know and that there is an infitinite amount of oil on earth.

  106. 106 Jane
    June 9, 2008 at 19:21

    Hello,
    Even though we reduce our usage by quite a bit, as long huge money is to be made in oil commodities, we will not see lower prices!! From listening to your program, it seems the rapid rise and extreme fluctuations in oil prices is due mainly to the speculation in oil commodities. Of course it is time to change to a sustainable fuel source, but it is time to take the pain off the backs of the poor and working class citizen of the world. We need to change the structure of trading to take the huge profit out of it! I have a bakery and every day my costs are going up!
    Jane in Portland Oregon

  107. 107 Debra
    June 9, 2008 at 19:22

    For those of you who don’t drive- use less plastic- Plastic is petroleum based- less plastic packaging can help non-drivers reduce their carbon footprint.

    debra
    austin, tx

  108. 108 GB
    June 9, 2008 at 19:22

    The maths isn’t that hard. In the last 6 months, prices at the pump have risen 30%. During that same period, the dollar has lost 30% of its value against other major currencies. Oil prices are pegged to the dollar. Where’s the mystery?

    GB,
    Canada

  109. 109 Joe
    June 9, 2008 at 19:23

    Ros-

    You sounded skeptical that there were actually waiting lists for hybrid cars, but it is a fact. Hybrid cars are in such demand and so little supply that waiting lists are fairly common in the US these days.

    On another note, biodiesel is up and coming here, but the worry is that lack of supply might make it too expensive before the industry really gets up and running. Rising fuel prices are making the cost of everything else go up, too. Kind of ironic that we can’t afford to replace oil because oil is too expensive….

    -Joe
    Portland, OR

  110. 110 Emilio
    June 9, 2008 at 19:23

    Ros,

    That off-the-top-of-his-head plan proposed by Barak Obama is foolish and just shows he would be a disaster as a president.

    A Windfall-Profits tax is self-defeating. It doesn’t do anything to prices today — or ever! And who pays this tax? It will simply be added on to the formula that determines the cost of the fuel. So, prices will rise. The only ones to profit from such a tax is the government itself.

    No. The way to control oil prices is this:
    1) for the U.S. government to reverse its policies that allow the U.S. dollar to depreciate. A strong dollar is the singlemost effective way to counter the price of a barrel of light crude. And
    2) for the U.S. to reduce demand. You cannot legislate usage unless you use rationing. The price is cheap but the consumers are limited to what they can buy. In addition, if off-shore drilling control was removed from control of the individual states, drilling could start today and within months increase the supply of oil. There is enough oil in Alaska and the Caribbean to make the U.S. self sufficient. This way, the U.S. won’t be forced to stand in line for crude in Saudi Arabia.

    Take out the U.S. demand and, then, Asia, Africa and Europe can have all the oil they want. The price under this scenario would have to stabilize at a third of its present rate.

    Emilio
    Pittsburgh, PA. U.S.A.

  111. 111 Jill
    June 9, 2008 at 19:24

    We have to look at the big picture. The US is a small part of the world population (what, 5%?) but consumes some 50+% of the worlds resources. Then we are selling the rest of the world our values and the American dream. It was only a matter of time before all this comes back to bite us. Whether climate change is a result of human activity or not is up for debate, but pollution and a toxic environment is of increasing concern. We, as well as other “developed countries” are too dependent on the automobile and fuel and oversized homes and so-called food (more accurately junk food). We coud all stand to re-evaluate our lifestyles and cut back a bit, if not a lot. Everything here has to be bigger, faster, more and “better”. Not the answer for those who cannot atain our standards. Now we feel entitled to still have it all, even lower fuel prices so we can continue in our blindness, while much of the world is suffering and dying. The delayed affect of our long term and increasing greed is something we will have to learn to deal with. The planet will survive. How many of the inhabitants will survive?

    Jill in Oregon

  112. 112 Michael
    June 9, 2008 at 19:25

    I just wanted put my two cents into this subject.

    I believe that oil companies should be taxed in a different way, make that money go to wind generators to produce electricity for a future of electric cars. The oil companies won’t lose the money because they will still own the generators and will still provide a product for consumption for the auto industry in the future.

    Here in Central Oregon we have people driving huge pick-up trucks that resemble monster trucks and people just driving huge pick-ups and SUV’s that don’t even need them. They are the ones complaining the most about high fuel prices.

    The US govt. does not allow high efficiency diesel cars but, will allow hugh diesel pick-ups. If you look for a small car that that gets more than 30 mpg your choice is very small.

    I could go on about how America has missed the boat being a leader in auto efficiency but, instead we chose to be helpless victims of our own making.

    Michael Hippenhammer
    Bend, OR USA

  113. 113 Nick in USA
    June 9, 2008 at 19:26

    Steve said:

    “Also with high gas prices, you’d hope people would walk a bit more. Walk from one end of the strip mall to the other rather than driving from the walmart to the big country buffet. What is it, 33% of americans are obese. Maybe if they walk more, that might get reduced a bit.”

    Haha, this is an awesome example. I see people do this type of thing all the time, and I just can’t believe. They either do this, or they circle the parking lot 3 times looking for a spot closer to the entrance.

  114. 114 shamsh
    June 9, 2008 at 19:26

    Hi i am shamsh tabrez from kathmandu.well it is not good sign.there are many developing countries which needs more fuel.if high fuel price rise then labour charge will increase as a result price of every product will increase.so production of oil must be double to minimise the fuel price.as there are many countries which is living under poverty and it cant bear the high price

  115. 115 Goodwin
    June 9, 2008 at 19:26

    When fuel prices go up everyone suffers. 1. Bus fairs are raised. 2. Gloceries and each commodity goes up as well. We are the ones who suffer most because salaries don’t change. So I want the governments to do something especially the G8. I don’t know how my country can do about this globe price hike. GOODWIN CHAIKA from MALAWI.

  116. 116 allenb03
    June 9, 2008 at 19:31

    Even though we reduce our usage by quite a bit, as long huge money is to be made in oil commodities, we will not see lower prices!! From listening to your program, it seems the rapid rise and extreme fluctuations in oil prices is due mainly to the speculation in oil commodities. Of course it is time to change to a sustainable fuel source, but it is time to take the pain off the backs of the poor and working class citizen of the world. We need to change the structure of trading to take the huge profit out of it! I have a bakery and every day my costs are going up!

    Jane in Portland Oregon

  117. 117 GB in Canada
    June 9, 2008 at 19:32

    The maths isn’t that hard. In the last 6 months, prices at the pump have risen 30%. During that same period, the dollar has lost 30% of its value against other major currencies. Oil prices are pegged to the dollar. Where’s the mystery?

    GB,

  118. 118 Emilio
    June 9, 2008 at 19:33

    Ros,

    That off-the-top-of-his-head plan proposed by Barak Obama is foolish and just shows he would be a disaster as a president.

    A Windfall-Profits tax is self-defeating. It doesn’t do anything to prices today — or ever! And who pays this tax? It will simply be added on to the formula that determines the cost of the fuel. So, prices will rise. The only ones to profit from such a tax is the government itself.

  119. 119 Douglas
    June 9, 2008 at 19:36

    The main reason oil prices have risen is that the currency it must be sold in, the US dollar, has fallen dramatically. In order to get the same value per barrel, the oil producers must raise the price every time the dollar slips.

    The problem is that the US economy is in dire straits and may take 50 years to recover – if it ever does. The only solution to ever increasing oil prices is to stop pegging oil to the US dollar. The political reality however is that such a move is tantamount to declaring war on the US. Iraq’s suffering is a perfect example of what happens when a country tries to go it alone…

    Douglas,
    Canada

  120. 120 Bob
    June 9, 2008 at 19:37

    From Bob of Swindon

    Dear Ros,

    Abdul & others claim some of the price hike for oil to be a consequence of speculation.

    Excessive speculation would be killed stone dead if a number of oil producing countries offered a large quantity of forward contacts for oil at around todays prices. If, as is most likely, the price of oil comes down, these countries would pocket a tidy profit. Should the price remain high at worst these countries would have to deliver oil for which they have been paid.

    Similar help could be given to the rest of world if large quantities of grain futures were to be offered by the major suppliers.

    Yours,

    Bob

  121. 121 steve
    June 9, 2008 at 19:38

    @ Emilio

    Yes, the taxes would benefit the government, and then they could use the proceeds on something practical, such as mandating homosexual tolerance for 4 year olds, teaching 5 year olds how to use condoms, and.. just kidding, they could use the funds to fund alternative energy sources and for transport infrastructure. I have a feeling there’s no other way that will get done. The oil industry would need a due date before they seriously get into looking at alternative sources, otherwise they will delay as long as they can, because it’s simply so profitable for them as it is.

  122. 122 Michelle
    June 9, 2008 at 19:46

    High gas prices are difficult on the average American despite that we are generally well off. What America really needs to help combat this problem is public transportation. Currently, in almost all states you are forced to use your car because the public transport is not sufficient enough for the population and large distances in sprawling cities.

    Michelle
    Los Angeles

  123. 123 Skip
    June 9, 2008 at 19:47

    The guys who was talking about trucks. Trains need to pick more of the traffic in the U.S. Unfortunately we have NOT done as good a job as other in the world of leveraging trains, which are far more efficient. The truckers need to adjust and in the U.S. I am hoping we begin to start developing more trains between long haul locations.

    Skip – Chesterland, ohio

  124. 124 karnie Sharp
    June 9, 2008 at 19:47

    Marie in San Francisco

    yes there are ways to curb the cost of food….
    small gardens, urban gardens are sprouting up all over cities (check out new york’s), farmer markets are on the rise and more people are trying to buy local grown foods.
    it might be the end of large corporations growing food habits and a return to smaller local farms….farmers markets….etc etc

  125. 125 Skip
    June 9, 2008 at 19:47

    Many listening are too young to remember the 70s here in the U.S. During the Carter years prices jumped dramatically and everyone started down the path of alternative fuels. Then everyone make an adjustment and prices came down a bit. We forgot and did nothing. SUV’s became the favorite transportation here in the U.S. Unfortunately we will need to feel more pain to really do something about alternatives and it will take some time. But, we cannot penalize capitalistic mechanisms and we CAN NOT make it governments problem. Government can not solve this problem because they are too corrupt and not efficient. We need to incent private companies to solve the problems. Anyone that thinks the big oil companies are the problem are simply ignorant of the facts
    Skip – Chesterland, ohio

  126. 126 Jill in Oregon
    June 9, 2008 at 19:48

    We have to look at the big picture. The US is a small part of the world population (what, 5%?) but consumes some 50+% of the worlds resources. Then we are selling the rest of the world our values and the American dream. It was only a matter of time before all this comes back to bite us. Whether climate change is a result of human activity or not is up for debate, but pollution and a toxic environment is of increasing concern. We, as well as other “developed countries” are too dependent on the automobile and fuel and oversized homes and so-called food (more accurately junk food). We coud all stand to re-evaluate our lifestyles and cut back a bit, if not a lot. Everything here has to be bigger, faster, more and “better”. Not the answer for those who cannot atain our standards. Now we feel entitled to still have it all, even lower fuel prices so we can continue in our blindness, while much of the world is suffering and dying. The delayed affect of our long term and increasing greed is something we will have to learn to deal with. The planet will survive. How many of the inhabitants will survive?

    Jill in Oregon

  127. 127 Alan
    June 9, 2008 at 19:48

    The farmer from Wales should stop growing maize to feed cattle to feed people. Cut out this middle product and grow food direct for humans.

    A long time ago there was a lot of “scare-mongering” about the future world population and the thought in the fifties of six billion people one day seemed like a nightmare then. Even at that time people in Africa, India and Asia were starving to death.

    The nightmare continued and people still copulated unrestricted and there really are now six billion people inhabiting the once Good Earth.

    The prediction is that by 2020 there will be NINE BILLION of us scrabbling for food. What kind of a nightmare will that bring? Mass starvation on an unprecedented scale – and that is saying something – disease, and nuclear war, that what!

    Insects take care of their habitats better.

    Sincerely,
    Alan Shadrake

  128. 128 karnie Sharp
    June 9, 2008 at 19:48

    Many listening are too young to remember the 70s here in the U.S. During the Carter years prices jumped dramatically and everyone started down the path of alternative fuels. Then everyone make an adjustment and prices came down a bit. We forgot and did nothing. SUV’s became the favorite transportation here in the U.S. Unfortunately we will need to feel more pain to really do something about alternatives and it will take some time.
    Skip in Ohio
    But, we cannot penalize capitalistic mechanisms and we CAN NOT make it governments problem. Government can not solve this problem because they are too corrupt and not efficient. We need to incent private companies to solve the problems. Anyone that thinks the big oil companies are the problem are simply ignorant of the facts.

  129. 129 greg
    June 9, 2008 at 19:48

    The first thing to do is to limit ‘future’ purchases to only those who can ACTUALLY take delivery of a contract (which is really only refinery’s).

    Then do the same for ‘downstream’ purchases (airlines for example could buy ‘futures’ for jet fuel.

    This would reduce the ‘speculative’ bubbles we are seeing ($11 increase on Friday was NOT related to supply and demand).

    NEXT, increase supply. This is a “medium” term solution. Adding drilling off the US coastline and Alaska, for example, will bring additional supply into the system. (Please note there is a fair amount of additional supply that can be acquired…but it takes some time).

    In addition, the subsidies some countries provide (China etc.) should be SLOWLY reduced (which will help on the ‘demand’ side.

    THIRD, use taxes on oil/carbon to subsidize (for a period of time) the growth of other energy sources. This will, after the ‘startup’ cost curve provides real longer term solutions.

    I am a senior VP for a asphalt based roofing mfg. firm. I have been dealing with oil associated costs for years. In the US the increase in the price of oil simply isn’t able to be explained by supply/demand and/or the fall of the dollar.

    Greg M
    Portland Oregon

  130. 130 Michael Hippenhammer
    June 9, 2008 at 19:48

    I believe that oil companies should be taxed in a different way, make that money go to wind generators to produce electricity for a future of electric cars. The oil companies won’t lose the money because they will still own the generators and will still provide a product for consumption for the auto industry in the future.

    Here in Central Oregon we have people driving huge pick-up trucks that resemble monster trucks and people just driving huge pick-ups and SUV’s that don’t even need them. They are the ones complaining the most about high fuel prices.

    The US govt. does not allow high efficiency diesel cars but, will allow hugh diesel pick-ups. If you look for a small car that that gets more than 30 mpg your choice is very small.

    I could go on about how America has missed the boat being a leader in auto efficiency but, instead we chose to be helpless victims of our own making.

    Bend, OR USA

  131. 131 Mason
    June 9, 2008 at 19:49

    As far as the Shale oil in CO and UT, that is correct, there is a lot here, the problem is it costs BILLIONS of dollars to get at it and it is going to take time to get an operation running, true the oil companies are spending BILLIONS to develop less energy intensive ways of getting at it (why aren’t they putting those BILLIONS into developing an alternative to oil?  They have the infrastructure to totally replace oil and maintain their grip on the profits earned from energy, be it solar, wind, geothermal, wave…but they are determined to use every drop of oil no mater what the cost to future generations)  Currently every new way of getting at the shale oil uses massive amounts of water, which is NOT acceptable in the west as we already have trouble providing water to our own residences (although we certainly send plenty to LA and Southern California) and also, in many cases involves strip mining massive areas, areas under 100 miles east from my house that is truly a national treasure….why not put that money into building a Solar Concentration field (a 100 Sq mile field in the Nevada desert could power the entire country) and wind generators, and wave generators off the coast, and better, more efficient, lighter batteries for cars….I would be for temporary oil drilling in some areas (although the possibility that the oil companies will go into an area start drilling, then pull out is dubious at best) and the fact that a drop in the price of oil has no affect on the price of gas…it is interesting that the price of oil actually had a fairly significant drop at the beginning of last week, but my gas prices didn’t go down…the oil companies say “oh, well, it takes awhile for the lower oil prices to bring the price of gas down, for that cheaper oil and its products to work its way into the system”  I buy that, but why is it that at the end of the week when the price of Oil shot up my gas prices went up 10 to 15 cents a gallon immediately!!  why is there no lag in the price going up?
     
    Mason
    Park City, Utah

  132. 132 shamsh tabrez
    June 9, 2008 at 19:49

    Hi i am shamsh tabrez from kathmandu.well it is not good sign.there are many developing countries which needs more fuel.if high fuel price rise then labour charge will increase as a result price of every product will increase.so production of oil must be double to minimise the fuel price.as there are many countries which is living under poverty and it cant bear the high price

  133. 133 Douglas in Canada
    June 9, 2008 at 19:50

    The main reason oil prices have risen is that the currency it must be sold in, the US dollar, has fallen dramatically. In order to get the same value per barrel, the oil producers must raise the price every time the dollar slips.

    The problem is that the US economy is in dire straits and may take 50 years to recover – if it ever does. The only solution to ever increasing oil prices is to stop pegging oil to the US dollar. The political reality however is that such a move is tantamount to declaring war on the US. Iraq’s suffering is a perfect example of what happens when a country tries to go it alone…

  134. 134 Jacqueline
    June 9, 2008 at 19:50

    Our president has done nothing to help with rising fuel costs. Today he said we should open up ANWAR and the continental shelf to exploration which would ease the problem today. This is a very false statement; even if we started exploring today, fuel from these regions would not be available for 10 years or more and not help with the present crisis.

    I think the oil companies should be taxed on windfall profits and a tax break given to businesses who must use gas or diesel for their livelihood. No subsidies for people who drive gas-guzzling cars or trucks for personal use. My husband and I must drive over 1000 miles a week because we service rural coastal communities on the Oregon Coast, and there is no other way to sell and deliver our goods. We purchased more fuel-efficient delivery trucks, but our gas bill has doubled just in the last few months. Our government has really done absolutely nothing to address our dependency on oil.
    Jacqueline

    Yachats, Oregon

    USA

  135. 135 marie in san francisco
    June 9, 2008 at 19:50

    yes there are ways to curb the cost of food….
    small gardens, urban gardens are sprouting up all over cities (check out new york’s), farmer markets are on the rise and more people are trying to buy local grown foods.
    it might be the end of large corporations growing food habits and a return to smaller local farms….farmers markets….etc etc

  136. 136 Michelle in LA
    June 9, 2008 at 19:51

    High gas prices are difficult on the average American despite that we are generally well off. What America really needs to help combat this problem is public transportation. Currently, in almost all states you are forced to use your car because the public transport is not sufficient enough for the population and large distances in sprawling cities.

    Michelle
    Los Angeles

  137. 137 Skip – Chesterland, ohio
    June 9, 2008 at 19:52

    The guys who was talking about trucks. Trains need to pick more of the traffic in the U.S. Unfortunately we have NOT done as good a job as other in the world of leveraging trains, which are far more efficient. The truckers need to adjust and in the U.S. I am hoping we begin to start developing more trains between long haul locations.

  138. 138 Alan Shadrake
    June 9, 2008 at 19:53

    The farmer from Wales should stop growing maize to feed cattle to feed people. Cut out this middle product and grow food direct for humans.

    A long time ago there was a lot of “scare-mongering” about the future world population and the thought in the fifties of six billion people one day seemed like a nightmare then. Even at that time people in Africa, India and Asia were starving to death.

    The nightmare continued and people still copulated unrestricted and there really are now six billion people inhabiting the once Good Earth.

    The prediction is that by 2020 there will be NINE BILLION of us scrabbling for food. What kind of a nightmare will that bring? Mass starvation on an unprecedented scale – and that is saying something – disease, and nuclear war, that what!

    Insects take care of their habitats better.

    Sincerely,
    Alan Shadrake

  139. 139 Solomon Urriola, Panama
    June 9, 2008 at 19:53

    This is my solution for the price of petro. If the Arabs wants to continue their practices with the way the deal with petro, then every nation that provides food, clothing or any other material, needs to make their prices higher for the Arabs nations also.
    Lt’s give the Arabs a taste of their own medicine.

    The people in Spain have the right to complain about the oil prices. This problem is hurting everybody world wide.

    Solomon Urriola, Panama

  140. 140 Justin
    June 9, 2008 at 19:54

    Reason #1 is correct.

    On a side note, reason #2 is occuring because of the crash in the housing market and economic woes. People are trying to dump their money into what they see as still having equal value, so they don’t lose out and can continue operating at a false economic level.

    This artificial oil market will see an equalization as well, just as housing has seen. So I don’t believe these oil prices will continue indefinitely. On the other hand, when oil does drop, it won’t be to previous $$ levels, and neither will gas prices necessarily follow.

    I think that the high prices suggest we take a serious look at how we transport goods in the western world. It has been some few years, but I remember a report which mentioned how freight transportation was a form of storage for companies rather than paying for warehouse space. How much of the current goods transportation network is necessary, or operating at peak efficiency? I believe that the high prices are a good thing in that they will force shipping to become much more efficient.

    On how this is effecting the truckers, lorry drivers (heh, I hope that’s the right usage, I’m no euro to know all yall’s lingo!), etc… we have just seen how they can organize. They need to put forward a unified front and universally jack up their prices! Their extra costs need to be passed up the line to the companies they move freight for, and above them to the consumers. That is how capitalism works.

    It seems to me that the truckers are missing the forest for looking at the trees. Organizing protests at the gas prices won’t help them, just turn people against them. Organizing an across the board raise in transport prices would send a much stronger and more powerful message. Money talks.

    Justin Boehm

  141. 141 Prince 'Awele Odor, Lagos, Nigeria
    June 9, 2008 at 19:54

    Fuel price should be lowered because it is promoting the use of world sources of foods for the production of fuel, the pushing and forcing of G.M.Foods — wish have been shown to cause cancers, kidney, liver, heart, and immune system failures, new diseases and death — into our markets, homes and down out throats, and the destabiisation of local economics and finance.

    Prince ‘Awele Odor, Lagos, Nigeria

  142. 142 karnie Sharp
    June 9, 2008 at 19:54

    Luz María in México

    The idea of different fuel prices for different needs (essential users vs. gas-guzzling vehicules´users) is a really good one. Plus, there is a need to make public transportation systems -all over the world- more efficient, affordable and appealing in order to reduce the number of private own vehicules in the streets.

  143. 143 karnie Sharp
    June 9, 2008 at 19:55

    Jacqueline in Oregon

    Our president has done nothing to help with rising fuel costs. Today he said we should open up ANWAR and the continental shelf to exploration which would ease the problem today. This is a very false statement; even if we started exploring today, fuel from these regions would not be available for 10 years or more and not help with the present crisis. I think the oil companies should be taxed on windfall profits and a tax break given to businesses who must use gas or diesel for their livelihood. No subsidies for people who drive gas-guzzling cars or trucks for personal use. My husband and I must drive over 1000 miles a week because we service rural coastal communities on the Oregon Coast, and there is no other way to sell and deliver our goods. We purchased more fuel-efficient delivery trucks, but our gas bill has doubled just in the last few months. Our government has really done absolutely nothing to address our dependency on oil.

  144. 144 Luz María Guzmán-Lozano. Monterrey, México
    June 9, 2008 at 19:57

    The idea of different fuel prices for different needs (essential users vs. gas-guzzling vehicules´users) is a really good one. Plus, there is a need to make public transportation systems -all over the world- more efficient, affordable and appealing in order to reduce the number of private own vehicules in the streets.

  145. 145 Jacqueline. Yachats, Oregon
    June 9, 2008 at 19:58

    Our president has done nothing to help with rising fuel costs. Today he said we should open up ANWAR and the continental shelf to exploration which would ease the problem today. This is a very false statement; even if we started exploring today, fuel from these regions would not be available for 10 years or more and not help with the present crisis.

    I think the oil companies should be taxed on windfall profits and a tax break given to businesses who must use gas or diesel for their livelihood. No subsidies for people who drive gas-guzzling cars or trucks for personal use. My husband and I must drive over 1000 miles a week because we service rural coastal communities on the Oregon Coast, and there is no other way to sell and deliver our goods. We purchased more fuel-efficient delivery trucks, but our gas bill has doubled just in the last few months. Our government has really done absolutely nothing to address our dependency on oil.

    Jacqueline. Yachats, Oregon

    USA

  146. 146 Nick in USA
    June 9, 2008 at 20:48

    Alan Shadrake said:

    “Insects take care of their habitats better.”

    Agreed, the way people look at the environment and world is so selfish. Especially, the people claiming that driving an SUV and keeping the thermostat at 72 is part of the american way of life. I didn’t make that up, I actually heard Laura Ingraham say that on her show last week. It’s time to think about the future. Drilling in Anwar is a temporary fix, we need to put real money in alternative fuels research before we don’t have a choice.

    I say let the market sort it out. I’ll be riding my little Piaggio scooter around everywhere, so it won’t affect me financially. If it’s necessary to subsidize certain companies, then you can give a subsidy that decreases each year for 10 years. If by that time, those businesses haven’t found a more efficient way to do business, then they must simply close down. It was going to happen eventually.

    Also, with these increased fuel prices, people will be paying more attention to locally grown and made products. This will help to create new jobs in the USA and decrease the income of foreign products. It would be nice to see local and corner stores selling high quality products able to compete with Wal Mart again.

  147. 147 Angela
    June 9, 2008 at 20:55

    This is the wrong question: The real question is

    “How quickly can we develop non-oil sources of energy, so that we can free ourselves from the tyranny of tribal dictators who control much of the world’s oil, and de facto, our lives as well?”

    I also feel that the environment will benefit if we quickly develop alternative energy sources (wind, solar, wave, geothermal, etc).

    Our leaders, past and present, have abominably failed us, as they have accepted the status quo of using fossil fuels, and have not advanced a vision that would have avoided this dependence on a limited resource that makes a small percentage of the world’s population fabulously wealthy.

    So, the question is not so much cost (which we will always be victimized by) but instead, getting rid of this need altogether. Think of also how this would eliminate “blood for oil” wars, as their oil would become worthless, and they (who control the oil) might have to actually work like the rest of us do.

  148. 148 John in Salem
    June 9, 2008 at 21:04

    The solution to the problem (without reassembling all of Western culture) is painfully simple and we’ve always known what it is.
    I have a 1958 Popular Science magazine with an ad in it for a new Ford that “will get you up to 30 miles a gallon”.
    That was 1958. This is 50 years later.

    What is wrong with this picture?

  149. 149 John M
    June 9, 2008 at 21:17

    Dear Julie, I live in Kuwait in the Arabian Gulf, one of the world’s largest oil-producing nations. I am British. I wish to assure you that the price is NOT set by OPEC-countries, but by the world spot-markets, futures traders, banks, pension funds, hedge funds, speculators. OPEC may be enjoying the benefits, but it is the financial markets who are driving the price up.

    Kuwait has responded to the oil-price increase in two ways.

    (1) Citizens of the country had their living allowances increased by 175 dollars a month last year and by a further 420 dollars per month this year. (Kuwait is a Socialist country). The citizens of this country were already hugely wealthy before the oil price spiralled from $40 in 2004 to the current $130. The Government set its 2006-7 budget based on the conservative oil-price of $35 per barrel. This is hardly the action of a state that needs the money. They are already one of the richest countries in the world per capita.The extra oil-revenue has been a windfall.

    (2) The second way has been to massively increase foreign aid to poor countries, especially in Africa. Kuwait is donating Billions of dollars in aid and soft loans, figures that dwarf the aid from many bigger nations. Kuwait is also in the front line when it comes to disaster-relief. The President of Benin is in Kuwait this week (per capita income $540 per year or $45 per month).

    We keep on hearing of a shortfall in production or a bottleneck in refinery capacity, especially after hurricane Katrina. I have regular contact with engineers and geologists in the oil industry in this country, many of whom work for multinationals like Saudi-Aramco. And they tell me production is booming.
    Four new oil-fields are coming on stream in the next few years. And this country has also uncovered massive natural gas deposits which are already on stream. Furthermore, Kuwait is funding a massive oil-refinery in India.

    So where is all this talk of supply shortages coming from? How can the BBC report what is patently untrue. This is because reporters do not themselves analyse the markets or the industry. They rely on “sources” and financial “analysts” who use the press for their self-serving ends. You, dear listener, are being led up the garden path. The financial markets, through their “analysts”, are involved in a game of talking the markets up. (I would too, if it meant a million-pound bonus in December. To hell with my neighbour).

    Speakers on the programme continually refer to the “free-market”. In-fact, that is a smokescreen to hide the fact that they are really referring to the “capital markets”, i.e. banks, investors, speculators, futures traders and especially State pension funds. Then there are the Politicians. The Prime-minister and President of Russia have wasted no time climbing into the Capital Markets, gambling with unbelievable amounts of Russian tax-payers money. Hugo Chavez, so called Socialist, is also right up there, exploiting the world’s poor by driving up the oil price and hence, food prices.

    Julie, the financial markets and the politicians are deliberately driving up the price. How is this done? By totally controlling and manipulating the flow of information.

    In answer to the questions raised on BBC have-your-say, I suggest the following course of action by the Spanish lorry-drivers.

    1) Using the threat of further industrial action, spearhead moves to force investors to only invest their funds in Ethical Companies (and that virtually excludes the entire oil-industry). Small investors in their millions across Europe must put pressure on the Banks and Share Traders to disinvest from companies that profit from a rise in commodity prices. Citizens must be convinced by the lorry-drivers to withdraw funds en masse in a co-ordinated way and re-invest them with financial services that have proven green/ ethical charters. The aim must not be to cripple the oil-industry or financial services industry – jobs are at stake – but to force them back to 2004 prices.

    2) Organise the Union members to only buy diesel from one company, with whom their leaders can negotiate a fair price. Other sellers of refined oil-products will be forced to fall into line by the sheer loss of volumes and potential bankruptcy. Also, while they are at it, they can force the entire energy sector to become wholly transparent

    3) Link up with motorists in concerted industrial action where the whole nation agrees to buy petrol from the Brand that drops its margins as a trade-off for extra volumes at the pumps.

    4) Force the Governments to tax petrol products at a flat-rate with a ceiling, rather than at a percentage-rate with no ceiling. If Governments will not do that, citizens can show them the door at Municipal, Provincial, Government and European elections. Opposition leaders like David Cameron are champing at the bit to wear the latest fashion-colour, Green.

    5) Julie P, I do not know who you are, but like everyone who contributes to this blog, the future is in your hands. All it will take is the Blogosphere, the Internet and ORGANISATION. And faith in your vision of a fair world. If your heart is in the right place, you can not fail. Nelson Mandela pioneered the approach that we need. It is called “Rolling Mass Action”. Amandla! Awethu!

  150. 150 steve
    June 9, 2008 at 21:41

    Well, some wonderful news about the public transit system in DC. A train on the orangeline derailed today, so I’ll be walking home tonight. No reports of injuries, but the system is just falling apart, and the OLDEST parts of it are only 30 years old..

  151. 151 Pangolin- California
    June 9, 2008 at 21:48

    Moderator- please check the spamming on this board.

    Global Warming is currenty bad and accelerating with positive forcing likely to cause increased warming even if we stopped burning all fossil fuels tomorrow. If oil was free and in great supply we shouldn’t be burning it because Global Warming will check the food supply if we do.

    Please do a search on the phrase’s ‘Peak Oil’ and ‘die off’ if you want to get some more thorough information about the subject than what you are going to get off of the television. We have taken and used all the easy oil just like you take the low hanging fruit off a tree first. Just like that tree you can pick as fast as you can fill your hands until there is no more fruit; then the supply of fruit stops abrubtly.

    The largest oil field that we have accurate data for, Cantarell in Mexico, is declining in production at a rapid and accelerating rate. That is essentially going to be the fate of all oil production everywhere in the world. It will produce lots of oil for years and then suddenly less every day until all that comes out of the pipe is water.

    The price of oil is never really going to return to where it was ten or even five years ago. The world of cheap, ready available, energy is gone. Get yourself an electric bicycle that can carry some cargo (wait in line) and insulate your houses now for next winter.

    Good luck with that ‘it’s all the fault of Wall Street speculators’ meme. I doubt that it will ever put a single gallon of gas in your tank.

  152. June 9, 2008 at 22:02

    Should we not just get rid of the corrupt politicians, and then get on with it.

    Malc Dow
    Berlin

  153. 153 steve
    June 9, 2008 at 22:03

    @ John

    Actually fuel efficiency is much improved. That Ford that will get you 30 mpg was probably a 4 cylinder producing 40 hp, tops. Back in the model T days, the car had less than 20 hp and couldn’t get over 20 mpg. Engines are a LOT more efficient. Sure, we could all drive .5 liter engine cars that get 200 mpg, but the car would produce 20 hp…. and would ba barely capable of highway speeds…. Cars are larger, but more efficient now..

  154. June 9, 2008 at 22:08

    @Malc,

    If we got rid of all of the corrupt politicians, who would run the countries. lol. Not to mention that we have to define corruption.

  155. 155 Thomas Murray
    June 9, 2008 at 22:50

    You all make excellent points.

    But I’d start with Steve’s observation that in the states most of us live so faar away from our jobs, that’s it’s really hitting us in our pocketbooks — as well that it should. (My barber said she has a two-hour commute every day; I don’t know if she’s still with that shop.) Though the US has oil reserves, it’s still a limited resource. And asking the Saudi’s to increase production is just plain selfish All that will do is just have them running out sooner.

    No. The higher price of gas will finally force US automakers and consumers to accept lighter smaller cars. The reason for the American obsession with SUVs is that we feel that we’re safer in a more massive car if we get it into an accident. An irony, since SUVs are more prone to roll-overs.

    But we must replace petrolium as a fuel source. Hydrogen peroxide could be a good bet. I can even envision nuclear powered locomotives (engineers would have to be real ones with a Masters and a security clearance).

    Higher gas prices will also have us rethinking mass transportation. After I gave up my car (for economic reasons) I found the Louisville bus system, called TARC here (Transit Authority of River City), to be perhaps the worst in the country. Their maps are confusing, they’re raising their fares to $1.50 (from $1.25) and they’ve announced they’re going to cut back on some of their routes — which gives you some idea of how torpid and out-of-touch bureaucratic thinking can be in some blighted areas of the world.

    Still, the high price of oil was inevitable.

    It was Noell Mostert in “Supership” (1974) who marvelled that mankind was making bigger and bigger oil tankers in order to deplete more and more massive quantities of crude even faster. And he worried how future generations will despise us for wasting such a non-replentishable resource.

    Its time to start walking.

    –Regards, Louisville, Kentucky, US.

  156. June 9, 2008 at 22:51

    I’m all for it ! (lowering prices).

  157. 157 John in Salem
    June 9, 2008 at 23:05

    Steve~
    50 years of the most dynamic technological progress in human history and you can say, with a straight face, that this is the best we can do with the internal combustion engine? We’ve advanced in every other field of science and engineering far beyond what was believed possible in the 50’s, and yet, this is what we should expect in one of the most critical pieces of technology in our lives? 30 to 40 miles a gallon?
    After 50 years?
    There is definitely something wrong with this picture.

  158. 158 Pangolin- California
    June 9, 2008 at 23:16

    @John in Kuwait- If the Kuwaiti ruling class had any sense at all they would be purchasing concentating solar power models at a furious rate. There are some hints already on the net that that is exactly what the Saudi’s are doing.

    Solar thermal power has the ability to generate electricity and produce fresh water from salt water at the same time. They are going to need that water because they have a very large population compared to their ability to produce food.

    Arab countries that are dependent upon oil revenues to purchase food for growing populations could end up like Egypt with niether oil revenues due to declining fields and a shortage of food due to population growth.

    The myth of ‘free trade’ is about to collapse everywhere just like it did with the rice markets. The days of nations harshly leveraging their unique assets to exploit other nations vulnerabilities are upon us.

    I got mine brother is the new global trade law.

  159. 159 Pangolin- California
    June 9, 2008 at 23:46

    We should consider that in the US we’ve traded job security and job training for cheap oil. You don’t need job security if you can troll a 30 to 60 mile radius for a new job. Likewise your employer doesn’t have to offer secure employment or invest in job training if it can poach employees from towns 30 miles away.

    What happens to the US job market, or the job market where you live, if employers are restricted to hiring staff that are within an hours tram ride or a 40 minute bicycle ride? I live in a town where a certain number of people work several days per week in the nearest major city 80 miles away. This will be increasingly impossible as time goes on.

    Any ideas?

  160. 160 Shirley
    June 10, 2008 at 02:10

    Hi, Will
    I set up that comment to function as a convenient soundbyte. Sorry. “Artificially lowering fuel prices” was a jab at gas tax relief. Sounds like a job for beano?

    Debra raises a good point.

  161. June 10, 2008 at 07:32

    I don’t believe most realisitic environmentalists do ( or should ) oppose methane/hydrogen fuels. The technology is in place (behind locked doors), and is both clean and renewable.

    the same holds good for nuclear energy, especially pebble bed reactors.

  162. 162 Pangolin- California
    June 10, 2008 at 09:57

    @Donovan Roebert- Actually many “realistic environmentalists” do oppose hydrogen fuel and nuclear power both. The physics of hydrogen storage make it far more energy efficient to put electric power into Lithium-ion batteries than either compressed or liquid hydrogen.

    The infrastructure required for battery electric vehicles is already present virtually everywhere in developed countries where there is no extant hydrogen infrastructure. Battery electric vehicles deliver more of the power from the generation point to the wheels of the car than hydrogen possibly can due to certain laws of physics. Battery electric vehicles require off-the-shelf production components that are affordable where existing fuel cells cost far more than the cars they would power.

    Likewise nuclear power has many problems that wind, solar, and geothermal power systems lack entirely. A significant reduction in radioactive materials also helps. After all, Israel doesn’t want to bomb Iran because they are afraid of it’s date production.

  163. 163 Nick
    June 10, 2008 at 13:19

    Sadly many of the comments in this thread just confirm what I have always dreaded –
    We are a self-centered, short sited species that will have turned this planet into just another liveless rock before this century is out.

  164. 164 Justin in Iowa
    June 10, 2008 at 17:08

    Don’t kid yourself, we might kill ourselves but we will never destroy the planet. Saving the planet, and the idea of destroying the planet, is a human conceit. The planet survived an asteroid which blew the hell out of over half the world’s species and created a nuclear winter the likes of which we can’t even imagine. Humans will never come even close to that.

  165. June 11, 2008 at 06:04

    Petrol prices will keep on rising in the coming days to come.There mqassive massive need of petrolium in india,china .Their demand doesn’t seem to being stablised in near future.their demand will be rising expentiollaly.In near future TATA motors will be coming world cheapest car with advent of this car demand of cars will raise in indian society.so what i see is price of petrolium will keep on rising and we have to be adapted to this condition.

  166. 166 parthguragain
    June 11, 2008 at 12:47

    Fuel prices are very complex issue for governments of developing countries .If they raise the price they may not get public votes in election and if they dont raise the price country will be in financial crisis.So this is a double edged shoard for government of developing countries.Reacently government of nepal have raised the price of oil and what we have seen is wide spread violence all over the country.SO due to these things government all over the world should come closer and take dicission in this matter very fast.

  167. 167 Colin Pomeroy
    June 11, 2008 at 21:28

    The way to lower fuel prices is to “starve out” one particular oil company by purchacing your fuel elswhere.ie Selective purchasing.I am surprised no one has thought of this.Colin Pomeroy.


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