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Experts say president has little control over volatile oil prices

Tonight's third and final presidential debate is scheduled to focus on foreign policy. But in doing so, President Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney will likely address a decidedly domestic issue – gas prices.

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Oil sand samples obtained from the Yousha Mountain in the Qaidam basin located in the northwestern region of China have been sampled, tested and deemed "feasible" for further development and exploration. As the China Petroleum Daily reports, samples contain a high percentage of clean oil that should make the process of extraction and refinement a relatively low-cost operation.

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Opening an article with the question, "how much does gas cost?" seems like it requires a fairly straightforward answer. You could hop in your car, drive to the nearest gas station and answer it in no time. Similarly, you could hit up the site GasBuddy and find an answer even quicker. Using either of those methods, you'll come back with an answer somewhere near $2.79 in the U.S. today. Though the answer may seem right, Ezra Klein of the Washington Post argues otherwise.

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Fuel efficiency has been a hot topic as of late, both for consumers looking to ease their financial and environmental burdens and for automakers hoping to meet the latest round of government-mandated mileage requirements. A few months ago in late March – importantly, that means the survey was conducted before the major disaster and oil spill in the Gulf – the Consumer Federation of America found that most U.S. citizens support a major shift towards increased fuel mileage standards.

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The U.S. military thinks we're one step closer to peak oil, the point at which oil demand will forever outstrip oil supply, and therefore we're one step closer to fighting over the last rusting cans of gasoline like so many scraps of meat. On the plus side, we're also one step closer to finally equipping our cars with superchargers and massive gas tanks rigged with explosives a la Mad Max and his archetypal peak-oil sled, "the last of the V-8 Interceptors."

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Two years ago, the price of oil was shooting to highs of over 100 dollars a barrel. Today, it's not quite that high, but the price of a barrel of crude did hit $86.62 this week, its highest point in 17 months, thanks (?) in part to "growth in American jobs and service industries signaled that the economy is recovering," as Bloomberg put it. A related increase came in the S&P 500, which went up 0.8 percent to 1,187.44.

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The cosmic oil-consumption scales have been tipping back and forth a lot this week. On Tuesday, Nissan revealed that its all-electric Leaf will be priced lower than most of us expected. On Wednesday, President Obama announced that we'll be ramping up our off-shore drilling efforts on the East Coast. And on Thursday, the EPA and NHTSA announced changes to the nation's CAFE standards, upping them to more than 34 miles per gallon by 2016 and regulating green house gasses for the first time. So, in

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While it's certainly possible to run automobiles on natural gas instead of gasoline (see the Civic GX), there is a decided lack of natural gas vehicles in the U.S. This might become a problem that needs solving, quick, if an analysis in Ground Report turns out to be accurate. The fear? That the price of oil will plummet from its current price of around $70-$75 to $30.

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If you know what the acronym VMT stands for, then this story probably won't come as much of a surprise. VMT stands for vehicle-miles traveled, and Americans drove their VMT numbers way, way down last year. VMT is just one way to measure demand for oil, and the decrease in VMT plus the rise of fuel-efficient vehicles - and fuel-free electric cars - means that the oil industry is gearing up for something new: the end of the oil slurping era. You don't need to take my word for it, the industry-frie

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The Rocky Mountain Institute has created a nifty interactive map that shows you where the U.S. gets its oil from, along with how much - and who - the U.S. pays for its oil. Based on the thickness of the lines, you can see just how much black stuff is coming from where. The map goes as far back as 1973, the year of the first oil crisis, and is accompanied by a graph charting usage and dollars since then. As you'll notice in the pic above, we give a whole lot of money to Saudi Arabia, as well as o

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Can you hear that? Those are the war drums, and more and more of them are beating the same tune: bring on the gas tax. An editorial in The Gray Lady is the latest and arguably the weightiest to join the shock troops advocating for higher gas prices. The writer proposes a fluctuating consumption tax that would keep gas at least $4 per gallon in 2008 dollars, while an economist suggests a sliding tax on the price of a barrel of oil to achieve the same effect.

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It's hard to predict the future. Well, it's actually quite easy to make a prediction - it's just hard to predict what will actually happen. Take gas prices. With the recent announcement that OPEC would make a substantial production cut - 2.2 million barrels a day - to bring oil prices back up, an AP story from earlier this month already seems out of date. That story, headlined "Return to $1 gas? Energy prices evaporate," found reason to talk about how the rapid tumble in gas prices in the US (r

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Getting used to cheap gas prices? Experts have been warning that they are not going to last and the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is doing its part to prop 'em back up. Today, OPEC unleashed a plan to drastically cut oil production by an astounding 2.2 million barrels per day - the largest cut ever - after already dropping oil production by another 2 million barrels per day just a short time ago. This move once again proves that oil is a supply and demand market and is in

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You didn't really think OPEC was going to pack up its supercar fleet and shut down the holiday mansions while $1.55 gasoline -- and that's in California -- ruled the day, did you? Oh no. OPEC hasn't merely cut production, it gutted production by the never-before-seen amount of 2.2 million barrels per day. As for the market, surprised as it might have been, fazed it wasn't: oil sank to $40.20/barrel immediately after Khelil's announcement. Those are 2004 prices, which means – as far as oil'

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President-Elect Barack Obama thinks we have an oil addiction and he wants to do something about it. That something is developing a plan for energy independence. While that might have seemed easier to discuss when oil was at $147 a barrel, Obama thinks it's even more important to talk about now, with oil hovering around $60. "It may be a little harder politically, but it's more important," Obama told 60 Minutes in his first post-election interview. Obama explained that our addiction to oil causes

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Photo by Michael (mx5tx). Licensed under Creative Commons license 2.0.

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The US, and in fact the entire civilized world, is knee deep in a financial meltdown. However, crashing stock markets and crumbling banking institutions have led to one pleasant side effect. The price of gas is dropping faster than the NASDAQ. A quick trip through south-east Michigan shows that gas prices have dropped below the $3.00 threshold, and tumbling crude prices show that even cheaper petrol is on the way. A barrel of oil now costs $77.70, which is in stark contrast to the $147 per barre

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Simply put, the U.S. economy is in the crapper. Stocks are yoyoing and our mortgages are a fraction of what they were even a year ago. For all that's fiscally wrong here in the States, there is one pleasant side effect: the price of a barrel of oil is dropping faster than Kimbo Slice against a two bit hack. Oil dropped 6% in trading on Monday, bringing down the price of a barrel of crude to $87.81. Black Gold has been on a downward trajectory since July 11, when it peaked at $147 per barrel. Sin

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The price for a barrel of Crude for October delivery rose $16.37, or 15.7%, to close at $120.92 by the end of today's trading in New York. Why? There doesn't actually appear to be any one particular reason, with speculation of an improving economy due to the Bush administration's hopeful ability to revitalize the struggling financial sector and overall economy taking top honors. This spike represents the largest ever pricing increase for oil in the history of trading. Most analysts seem to belie

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