(NPR) Spiking Oil Prices: Time To Worry Yet?

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Watching the price of oil go up these days is a little like watching a river rise. At what point do we need to get the sandbags? When should we sound the warning horns? What is flood stage?

On Wednesday, the main U.S. oil contract hit $100 a barrel before retreating to $98.10. That was the highest price in more than two years.

Of course, prices could always go down. But with increasing global demand and widespread unrest in the Middle East, it's possible that the price of fuel — by the barrel and by the gallon — will continue to rise. And when the price of oil rises, the price of just about everything else — driving, heating, shopping, eating and more — starts to move up too.

Flood level may be closer than we think.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeEnergy, Natural Resources* International News & CommentaryAfricaLibyaMiddle EastEgypt

Posted February 24, 2011 at 7:35 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. Cennydd13 wrote:

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m sick and tired of the price of a barrel of oil…..and the price at the pump…..going up whenever somebody in the oil business sneezes!

February 24, 12:05 pm | [comment link]
2. DavidBennett wrote:

I think the US government, and the American people, deeply underestimate the impact rising commodity prices is having on the economy. Paying high costs for energy essentially takes money out of local economies and sends it overseas. The example I use to illustrate this is from when I was in college, and gas was 99 cents a gallon. So let’s say I have 30 dollars in my wallet. Back then I could put 10 dollars in the car, and spend 20 locally. Today I spend 30 on gas, and 0 dollars locally. Imagine this effect magnified by every driving American and you will see my point. High energy prices are having a choking effect on the economy, even if it is milder than in the 1970s. Some will say “ahh, but that is inflation, and natural.” Is 300% inflation in 12 years really normal?

February 24, 2:16 pm | [comment link]
3. David Keller wrote:

Its time to worry.  I was just talking to a friend who was making plane reservations this afternoon, and the price went up $30 while he was on the computer.

February 24, 4:07 pm | [comment link]
4. stevejax wrote:

Uhhhh….it’s hard to categorize a series of revolutions in the Arab World as oil business sneezes.  The reality is we are all going to pay a bit more at the pump.  But as global citizens, it is a bit myopic to have that be our primary concern over the greater welfare of 100’s of millions of people who are seeking freedom from the rule of despots. Not to mention our worldview as Christians calls us to have greater concerns than gas prices—this could be likend to the fall of the iron curtain in 1989-90, granting unprecedented access to North Africa and the Middle East!!

February 24, 4:40 pm | [comment link]
5. David Keller wrote:

#4—I hope you are right. I fear the more likely prospect is another series of strongmen/dictators who whip up anti-Israeli sentiment. There is no tradition of democracy anywhere in the region, and a long history of anti-semitism.

February 24, 6:23 pm | [comment link]
6. Capt. Father Warren wrote:

I fear the more likely prospect is another series of strongmen/dictators

Who will fill the vacuum created, not by freedom loving, spontaneous youth, but by socialists, communists, radical muslim groups, and unions who are cooperating globally to create upheavels everywhere in order to bring down America specifically and capitalism in general.  Surging oil prices are a useful tool in that effort when directed against a country that imports nearly 70% of its oil (that’s us folks).  Blaming oil prices on the oil companies is like blaming the housing crash on carpenters, plumbers, and roofers.

February 24, 10:05 pm | [comment link]
7. Cennydd13 wrote:

1.  I meant that metaphorically, of course.

February 25, 4:21 pm | [comment link]
8. Larry Morse wrote:

I am so TIRED of getting ripped pof by the gas companies. Gas went up $5 a barrel and gas here in Maine immediately jumped $15/gal. And just think, Exxon doesn’t pay a penny in taxes here in the US. Larry

February 25, 5:05 pm | [comment link]
9. libraryjim wrote:

I notice the pump prices are not as quick to go down when the price of oil drops.

February 26, 12:57 am | [comment link]
10. Larry Morse wrote:

Oops. I meant fifteen cents a gal.  Larry

February 26, 1:20 am | [comment link]
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