Lindsay shed some light on the gas situation right now. If I remember hearing this correctly, the Saudis did tell us they won't be able to meet our oil / gas needs starting in 2015. Isn't that a hint and a half for the jackass in the White House to really start investigatin alternative energy sources?
Well, I've decided to post Lindsay's response. It's pretty eye opening....
Cincy! $36 for HALF a tank??? Dear God!!!
Basically, there's a ton of factors that are causing this spike in gas prices. First, demand for oil has skyrocketed. The Indian and Chinese economies are using up a TON of oil and will continue to do so in the future (an interesting aside, checkout the fight between their state oil companies for oil in the Caspian). U.S. oil demand is also expected to grow. Even with these high gas prices...people are still buying H2s so they can navigate the mean streets of their suburbs.
Oil producers can't keep up with this demand. This isn't like the 1970s, when the shocks were due to a political embargo by OPEC. Bush can "pressure" all he wants, but OPEC members are pumping at full capacity. OPEC (nor Russia) itself isn't a huge fan of these high prices...Russia would usually like to see $30-35 barrel. They're afraid that if oil prices are too high, it will cause a rcession, demand will drop, resulting in huge economic losses for them (and oil is the ONLY income for these countries, so it's disastrous) so they are pumping all they can to bring some equilibrium back to the market. Iraq won't be producing at full capacity for awhile...pipelines are constantly blown up, and many oil-producing countries aren't politically stable - rioting workers, shutdown refineries, etc. The areas where oil is cheap and easy to produce are drying out, whereas there is a ton of oil under the Caspian and the permafrost of Siberia, but it's extremely expensive to get out of the ground.
Of course, cars don't run on oil - it has to be refined into gasoline, which is another problem. There haven't been any refineries built in the U.S. since the 1970s. People don't want them in their communities, and oil companies don't want to build them - they're expensive and the profit margins from refining aren't that high (hard to believe, eh? lol). So, a huge growth in gas use, and no new refineries that can keep up with this. Also, states have different rules on what can and can't be added to gas. In California, for instance, the gas prices are always higher due to environmental regulations that stipulate the gas has to be "cleaner." So companies can only sell this specially refined gas in that state and can't draw on stocks from say, Texas.
And on top of this, the Gulf region is devastated...they produce a third of U.S. domestic oil supply...that's 1.5 million barrels a day that aren't reaching the market. Refineries are sitting under several feet of water, oil rigs are drifing around...it will be awhile before production is up again.
When I eventually have enough money to buy a car, I seriously think it will be a hybrid...I don't see these prices going away anytime soon.
Hope that helped...off to the pub now! :)
I think I need to head to the pub myself; working here sucks ass!!!