What’s really driving the high price of oil

Published on Countercurrents.org, by Ralph Nader, 30 May, 2008.

3 excerpts: … What factors are causing the zooming price of crude oil, gasoline and heating products? What is going to be done about it?

Don’t rely on the White House – with Bush and Cheney marinated in oil – or the Congress – which has hearings that grill oil executives who know that nothing is going to happen on Capitol Hill either …

… Iran, for instance, is storing 25 million barrels of heavy, sour crude oil because, in the words of Hossein Kazempour Ardebili, Iran’s oil governor, “there are simply no buyers because the market has more than enough oil.”

Mike Wittner, head of oil research at Societe Generale in London agrees. “There’s various signals out there saying for right now, the markets are well supplied with crude” …

… Harry C. Johnson, former banker who worked for many years inside Big Oil and ran his own small oil company in Oklahoma, blames the CFTC, the Department of Energy, the Administration, and Congress, as “asleep at the switch on an issue that is probably costing U.S. consumers $1 billion per day.”

He cites “some industry experts, who profit greatly from the high price of crude, and have stated openly that the worldwide economic price of crude, absent speculators, would be around $50 to $60 per barrel.

Imagine, our government is letting your price for gasoline and home heating oil be determined by a gambling casino on Wall Street called NYMEX. The people need regulatory protection from speculators and an excess profits tax on Big Oil.

In addition, a sane government would see the present price crises as an opportunity to expand our passenger and freight railroad capacity and technology … (full text).

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