Congress MIA on gas prices

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  • James
    June 9, 2008 11:55 p.m.

    Oil speculators are not that stupid, sorry. They do listen to what is going on but then they snoop around like private investigators. If you have ever talked to Wall Street types you know they will do anything to get the right kind of information.

    As an example, the stories about Obama cirulating Wall Street make a marxist from the 60's look John Birch. They don't get their news from channel 5 and the Deseret News.

    You could announce it but if there wasn't serious policy being developed behind the scenes to make it happen you would get nothing. And if there were serious policies being developed behind the scenes to make it happen they would know it before you announced it.

    These people don't make hundreds of millions of dollars by being stupid or gullible.

  • Joe Moe
    June 9, 2008 11:20 p.m.

    @wrz 8:39. I usually think you're a piece of work, but I love the way you're thinking on this! Can I vote for you for US Oil Czar???

  • wrz
    June 9, 2008 8:39 p.m.

    All the US needs to do is ANNOUNCE that we are going to drill in ANWR and the coastal waters, gasify coal, mine oil shale and tar sands, and buy sugar cane ethanol from Brazil. Oil and gas prices would drop precipitously. Just announce it. Speculators would drop oil futures like hot potatoes.

    Then go about developing alternative sources.

  • Lionheart
    June 9, 2008 6:41 p.m.

    Did anyone watch the Congressional hearings on energy? US oil companies are small potatoes in the world market. The majority of oil is controlled by nation states primarily in the hands of dictators. Go ahead, chop off the heads of the american oil people, they are our only friends. They could help out our situation, if we would unlock our own resources, including oil shale. The speculators are betting on the Democrats controlling our energy policy, we are cutting off our nose to spite our face. I'll be fine, how bout' the rest of you?

  • wrz
    June 9, 2008 3:58 p.m.

    "Refineries are running at 93%. From a business perspective this is perfect. Why would you invest money to drop your capital utilization when your money can earn you more somewhere else?"

    And a question for you, Logic -

    Reportedly, refineries are the bottleneck. No new ones for 30 some years. And if refineries go down from hurricanes, etc., (and they do) prices spike because of full capacity utilization.

    OPEC seems to think there's enough oil on the market. Saudis are saying they don't intend to increase production.

    I think most of the problem is oil futures speculation.

    Here's the funny part - Bush goes to the Saudis to ask for increased production while the US sits on its collective a**-ets.

  • BBKing
    June 9, 2008 3:53 p.m.

    GWB, (George W Bush?) a very large part of the increase in gas prices has been that of speculation. Who disagrees with that?

    The speculators have been out in force since 2006. Admitted some of that increase is due to a falling dollar with REAL inflation actually around 10%.

    Speculators look at the lay of the land and guestimate the cost of goods/commodities in the future. What has changed since 2006 that has caused prices to soar?

    The War in Iraq is actually improving with increased production of oil by US and UK firms. Less attacks on oil pipelines/infrastructure. World production of oil has kept pace with expectations. World consumption of oil has actually decreased ever so slightly over the last 12 months. OPEC/Saudis has actually agreed to increase output.

    What has changed? The party that controls both houses of Congress is the only change. The first act of Congress was to pass new vehicle standards, new safety regulations and oh by the way, outlaw the lightbulb.

    Speculators have anticipated for months that Obama will win and when they hear what he wants to do with energy they are saying $200/barrel of oil. The expectations of radical policies.

  • -)
    June 9, 2008 2:16 p.m.

    GWB What extreme environment law as been voted on?

    Bush could use that mandate Rush told you he has to get voters to write congress.

  • GWB
    June 9, 2008 1:02 p.m.

    BBKing: You say "When Bush took office gas was at roughly $1.80/gl. After 6 years of war it climbed to $2.60/gl. In 2006 the Democrats and extreme environmentalism took office. Gas was at $2.60/gl. After less than 2 years it is at $4/gl. Speculation is based NOT on war but Democratic policies."

    Could you please define which laws passed by the Democratic Congress, vetoed by the President and over-ridden by congress that account for the problem?

    Please inform me of the policies to which you refer.

    Thanks, otherwise I guess you are just trying to displace blame for failed Bush policies to the Congress, when they have little power to change things.

  • Dick
    June 9, 2008 12:58 p.m.

    Big oil is getting rich. They intentionally create shortages to keep the prices up. More refineries need to be built to keep up with the demand but it won`t be done. Bush is an oilman so he likes the high prices. If something isn`t done this country is heading for a depression.

  • Carpool?
    June 9, 2008 12:40 p.m.

    Try telling the truckers to carpool. We can all see the food prices going up because of diesel. We can do better and tell our elected officials that we do not want our children to have a poorer quality of life than we have. Let's get started now and drill and refine oil on our own soil.

  • Logic
    June 9, 2008 12:00 p.m.

    A couple questions for you ditto heads.

    You recite the refinery mantra.

    There is the concept of "capital utilization." Refineries are assets. Good business means getting the most for your dollar.

    Refineries are running at 93%. From a business perspective this is perfect. Why would you invest money to drop your capital utilization when your money can earn you more somewhere else?

    We import refined oil. Why can we use the wonder of the global market place that brings in cheap American flags from China to celebrate freedom but we can't do it with gas? Why does oil refining demand being located thousands of miles from the resource?

    The dollar has declined 50% against the euro. How much has borrowing money from China to bring freedom to Iraq has raised gas prices?

    By the use of deductive logic you can surmise we are being spun a tale. What is the record these folks have for creditability? Rule of business: pass performance is a great indicator of future performance.

  • GWB
    June 9, 2008 11:37 a.m.

    Wow, is the letter writer serious?

    Do you really think a bill taxing profits that the rich speculative investor class people are making on running up OIL prices could pass congress?

    First off, it may pass the house on a party-line vote with every Dem for it and the Repubs against it.

    Then, the Senate requires 60 votes to stop a filibuster for a vote to occur. Democrats hold 51 seats. Which 9 Republican Senators (Hatch, Bennett, anyone???) would join the Democrats in voting for such a law?

    Then say it does get through the Congress, would the Administration of George (Arbusto Drilling, Harken Energy) Bush or Dick (Halliburton) Cheney ever sign the law?

    Of course not!!!

    If it was vetoed, what 16 Republican Senators would vote for an over-ride on a tax for Rich Investors?

    Which 40 Republican Congressmen would vote to Over-ride the Veto.

    Therein lies the problem.

    The way to lower Oil prices is simple, stop borrowing money from China!!! When the US proves capable of supporting our currency by limiting spending ($150 Billion a year of borrowed money for a unneccessary war is a good start) and making changes to end our reliance on middle-eastern oil.

  • Grover
    June 9, 2008 11:37 a.m.

    The government needs a leader with a plan that is more than "drill in Alaska". We haven't had a leader in this area for sometime. The good news is that we had a huge part of the world's deposits right here in the USA. The bad news is that we started sucking it out of the ground about 50 years before most other countries did. It fueled our rise a the prime industrial power in the world. Now we need new ideas and a plan, not people who want the government to save them from their own behavior. Remember the 55 mph speed limit in the 70's? That worked, right? Not! How about banning all boating except for commercial boats this summer? What about banning teens from driving State street all year? If you are not in those two groups, you might agree with the idea. If you a boater or teen, it is easier to wail that the government needs to do something.

  • DBG
    June 9, 2008 11:12 a.m.

    Wow, never ceases to amaze me how ignorant many are on this issue. The dollar is down to h istoric lows and is part of the problem. Speculation is the other. But a poster above claimed that speculators would move to another market but little did he/she realise that the US and Saudi Arabia have a pact to value oil on the USD. Some OPEC members have tried to move to the Euro which would ultimately double our costs. I understand speculation cannot sustain long periods of time and therefore the bubble will burst and prices will dive, just as the housing bubble burst.

  • lowonoil
    June 9, 2008 10:34 a.m.

    Not all in congress are MIA on the oil issue. Look up the work of Roscoe Bartlett and the Peak Oil Caucus. You can download and watch some of Congressman Bartlett's many speeches on the subject.

  • Americans MIA
    June 9, 2008 10:31 a.m.

    I agree with Why is this Congress's fault. It's our own fault, and if we want the price of gas to come down, we should conserve. My personal recommendation is to carpool. That put's money in your pocket right away. If enough other people do it too, the price of gas goes down. Not to mention unclogging the freeways.

  • BBKing
    June 9, 2008 10:07 a.m.

    Lots of forces at play here.

    I understand that South Dakota just approved a refinery, if so that would be the first since the late 1970's.

    China is working with Cuba to drill oil off the coast of Florida, in waters enviros and Congress refused to allow US firms to drill. Maybe we can buy our oil back from them.

    Speculators are holding oil because they think it will be more profitable in the future. They are speculating, based on current laws and trends, that oil will be worth more in future. This means they think our laws and trends stink. Maybe we should stop blaming them and start chaning our laws and trends.

    ANWR is the size of several states. The size of the area that would be affected by drilling is about twice the size of the SLC airport!

    When Bush took office gas was at roughly $1.80/gl. After 6 years of war it climbed to $2.60/gl. In 2006 the Democrats and extreme environmentalism took office. Gas was at $2.60/gl. After less than 2 years it is at $4/gl.

    Speculation is based NOT on war but Democratic policies. This IS the party that outlawed the incandecent lightbulb, remember.

  • Innovation
    June 9, 2008 10:03 a.m.

    The high cost of oil will FINALLY yield an innovation in transportation. About the time we figure out how to improve gas mileage, the cost drops and we lose interest. I don't think costs are dropping again. We'll have to find something else.

  • Joe Moe
    June 9, 2008 9:48 a.m.

    I say let the sticker shock settle in. Maybe enough people will get concerned enough that we'll see real conservation efforts and real movement on alternative energy ideas. Let the market roll!

  • wrz
    June 9, 2008 9:39 a.m.

    Everyone keeps blaming environmentalist for failure to drill for more oil. Look to Big Oil is well aware that shortages bring higher prices and thus higher profits.

    Oil prices will climb until Big Oil profit increases max out due to reduced usage. Hopefully we've hit that mark for awhile. Then, when we get used to $4 gas, demand/usage will begin again to rise, pushing prices to new heights.

  • SKB
    June 9, 2008 8:46 a.m.

    Instead of attempting to find the last few drops of oil left, we should be using our national treasure (in both money and mind power) to move us away from an oil based economy towards one that is powered by renewable fuels that can be produced inside the USA.

    We should DEMAND that our government make this priority #1 for the next 10 years. It is madness that we allow ourselves to be controlled by a cartel of oil producers that not only take our money for oil, but actually fund our enemies with our own money.

    Anyone who believes that we can drill our way to freedom is naive. We need to imagine a world where oil is not necessary. When we become energy independent we will gain power over OPEC, its governments and the terrorists they support.

    DEMAND that your representative make this priority #1. There is nothing more important to our national and financial security than becoming energy independent. Every day our government twiddles its thumbs brings us that much closer to collapse and domination by foreign governments.

    This is not a Republican or Democratic problem. This is an American problem.

  • One more time
    June 9, 2008 8:42 a.m.

    Remember the S&L debacle, California Power crisis, the dot.com bubble, subprimes and now commodities? Notice the market is given as an explanation. When Bush failed to investigate "Kenny Boy" and Enron, he said let the market work. It was supply and demand. We were really getting ripped off.

    We are getting ripped off again. In order for these sharks to get fat someone must get hooked. There must be the dumbie that you can sell you over priced investment to in order to cash in.

    There is a rule in investing. When the small guys get in to a market, it is time for the big sharks sell and move on to seek other prey.

  • michaelh
    June 9, 2008 8:13 a.m.

    I guess you cant see the forest of Democrats for the tree huggers. Can you say Al Gore? I knew you could.

  • COSMO
    June 9, 2008 7:38 a.m.

    Because, Congress is kowtowing to the Green Marxists!

  • Earl
    June 9, 2008 7:32 a.m.

    Typical liberal solution, like we're not paying enough in taxes. Everything will be ok as soon as we give more money and power to the government, because they're just too weak and poor to do anything to save us from ourselves!

  • Dave
    June 9, 2008 7:28 a.m.

    Anything the Government does makes things worse. They don't know anything about producing energy. Would you invest billions in a new refinary with the government doing all it can to end the use of oil?

  • OilMan
    June 9, 2008 7:18 a.m.

    Greed is good, isn't it? We rant and rail against environmentalists but don't you think oil companies could build refining capacity if they wanted to? You bet. There seems to be no impetus to do so, however. One reason is probably because it increases profit. Another,less discussed reason is that oil companies know it takes years and billions to bring on a big refinery, and the cheap oil is gone, production declining of any oil whatsoever, so it wouldn't be worth it.
    So should government make them do it? No, of course not. Not here, where the hint of any sort of government intervention in any industry brands them socialists, a term worse than liberal or terrorist. The free market will guide and protect us. It's what we vote for every time.

  • Why is this Congress?
    June 9, 2008 7:15 a.m.

    I am sorry but why is this congress responciblity? Why is it not an indavidual responciblity? Americans need to Drive Less. We use 25 Barrels of Oil per person compared to 2 barrels per person in China. I am sorry but it is our indavidual responciblity to Drive Less. Walk More, Bike More, Think More about where we are going and how we are going to get there. We need to Get Creative to the solution of Gas Usage and Prices. I think if We decreased our Demand for the Oil we use we will see a difference no only in our Wallets but also our Waist Line.

  • Anonymous
    June 9, 2008 7:00 a.m.

    Maybe they'll come to the rescue right after they save the poor from health care costs.

  • Few reserves, high demand
    June 9, 2008 6:24 a.m.

    Yes, Congress has been MIA on energy, and we're now paying for its myopic policies... however, drilling and forcing more refineries will be difficult. First, America doesn't have the oil reserves to truly sate America's oil thirst. Even if we drill in Alaska, it will take 10 years to get that oil, and the foreign oil companies (e.g., BP, Shell) will ship it to the closest markets -- Russia and China -- to keep their own shipping costs down. Second, the Bush Administration's push for ethanol (via big subsidies) has spooked oil companies from wanting to expand oil refineries should biofuels really take off. Third, oil continues to be worth more in the ground than burned, so Arabs aren't in a rush to turn up the spigots. Bottom line: We need to change the game. Plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles will make electricity a true substitute for oil (coming 2010 from GM, Toyota). Wind power is booming and pouring billions of economic development dollars in America's rural heartland! Energy storage innovations are the next piece of the puzzle! Congress needs the political will be change the game to truly solve America's energy woes!

  • Coug in Mass
    June 9, 2008 6:23 a.m.

    Everyone is getting what they want. We don't have to look at oil rigs. We don't have to look at refineries. We are saving the planet. That's the best that Congress can do. They can't produce product.

    There's an all-time high amount of investment capital in the commodities markets. Given that most of Congress doesn't understand supply and demand, expecting them to understand and regulate the commodities market seems unreasonable. If there is a bubble, the bubble will pop. If you don't thank that there's a bubble, call your securities trader and buy up some oil futures.

    The people don't want shale oil. They don't want coal gasification. They don't want refineries or new drilling. The price is the one factor that can't be controlled.

    We have everything that we want, except price. If we focus on price, then we would have to do everything that we don't want to do.

    Congress is not MIA. They reflect the people's wishes.

  • Anonymous
    June 9, 2008 5:59 a.m.

    You got the right idea. Politicians are corrupt. Neither party has monopoly on this scam. Did you see the story on Dennis Hastert. He made millions of a land deal that was bolstered by a "earmark" he sponsored. The congressman from Lousiana still has not gone to jail despite the stash of cash found in his freezer. We have pedophiles and sexual predators on both sides of the isle. Hopefully people will not rant about neocons or liberals today. Lets vote for change. Vote for a third party candidate.

  • I agree
    June 9, 2008 5:52 a.m.

    When Nancy Pelosi and other democrats took control of Congress they promised to lower gas prices. Prices have never gone up faster since then. What has happened? Why is congress sitting on their hands?

  • burnt bacon
    June 9, 2008 1:22 a.m.

    As for a tax on speculation making any difference, the US has no franchise on the oil market. Speculators would just move to markets outside the US.

    This supposed "speculation" is happening in the "Futures" market. What is it they see in the "Future" that makes them think the world will buy oil at a higher rate. What makes them think that there will be no one offering or producing cheaper oil and popping this supposed "bubble"?

    I'd suggest reading what the IEA is forecasting for oil in the next four years. It might give you a better idea what the "speculators" are planning on (and maybe you should be also).

  • burnt bacom
    June 9, 2008 1:13 a.m.

    What happens when you put multiple straws in a chocolate shake. You may get a little more flow but you run out sooner. That's what the oil companies know. What's left of the world's oil is not within the USA's border. The majority is under the Persian Gulf.

    It takes more than ten years to bring a new oil field to the market. With the world's current depletion rate, what is still under the USA won't make much of a difference for you and I as we go through the energy shortages we are sure to encounter in the next four years.

    I'd look to lifestyle and landuse changes to solve the coming shortfalls. If you're looking for technology to save your butt, I'd read the Energy Department's Hirsch Report. There are no silver bullets here!!!