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June 18th, 2008
02:30 PM ET

Drilling for oil in Alaska & offshore the answer to high gas prices?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Can you tell it's an election year? After a moratorium against drilling for oil in Alaska and off the coast of the U.S. for the last 27 years, suddenly the politicians are saying "to hell with the environment and the tourism industries in places like Florida… let's drill for oil now!"

Funny how gas hits four dollars and politicians throw their principles out the window. President Bush and John McCain both favor drilling as though it will take the place of a coherent energy policy. If exploration started today, some experts predict it could take ten years before you could pump the oil from the coastal areas and Alaska into your car as gasoline.

The economic implications for states like Florida – that rely heavily on tourism – are immense. In the event of a leak or a spill, the entire coastline could be ruined. Remember the Exxon Valdez.

The political implications for John McCain's chances of being the next president are also large. If coastal drilling happens in California, McCain can forget about it. Californians are among the most environmentally conscious folks in the country and are staunchly opposed to drilling for oil off their coast.

Florida could react the same way. Clean beaches are vital to the state's economy. But suddenly Florida's governor, Charlie Crist, who some think is salivating at the chance to be McCain's V.P., is all in favor. Until yesterday he was opposed.

Critics of the idea point out that the oil companies currently have 68 million acres under offshore lease that are not being developed. But critics be damned… full speed ahead. It's an election year and the voters are mad about gas prices.

Here’s my question to you: Is drilling for oil in Alaska and off the coast the answer to high gas prices?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Economy • Oil Prices
May 30th, 2008
05:05 PM ET

Will oil probe lead to cheaper gas?

 Gas prices soar over $4.00 a gallon in NY.

Gas prices soar over $4.00 a gallon in NY.

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Here we go again. Every time oil and/or gasoline prices get high enough, someone in the government announces an investigation. The idea is to try to convince the poor soul forking over four bucks a gallon for gas that his government gives a damn. This time it's the Commodities Futures Trading Commission.

We've been here before. Investigators this time say they're looking at potential abuses in the way crude oil is bought, shipped stored and traded nationwide. Usually they don't publicize this kind of stuff, but say they are doing so now "because of today's unprecedented market conditions." That and senators and congressmen are catching hell from their constituents who want an explanation of why oil prices are up 42% since last December.

And, heading into the peak summer travel season, gasoline prices are up an average of 76 cents over where they were a year ago.

When you read the fine print, you discover experts say this investigation – like all the others before it – will likely have a limited impact on oil prices, which have been going up for many reasons, including growing demand from places like China and India, the falling value of the dollar, international tensions and low interest rates.

Meanwhile, a new Gallup Poll asks Americans what should be done to reduce gas prices. A majority of those surveyed, 53% favor price controls. 58% support draining oil from the strategic petroleum reserve, and 57% are for drilling in U.S. coastal and wilderness areas that are now off limits.

However, a majority of people say it's a bad idea to ration gas, bring back the 55 mph speed limit or – are you listening, John McCain – suspend the federal tax on gasoline for the summer. If it makes you feel any better, the highest gas prices in Europe are in Norway where motorists pay more than $9 a gallon.

Here’s my question to you: Do you think a government investigation of oil prices will lead to cheaper gasoline?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST

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Filed under: Oil Prices • US Economy
May 23rd, 2008
02:14 PM ET

Soaring gas, food prices changing your holiday plans?

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(PHOTO CREDIT: AP PHOTO)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Americans are being hit with a more expensive holiday weekend than in years past, with soaring costs for everything from gasoline to hamburger buns.

Gas prices, at a national average of $3.88 a gallon, have now risen for 17 straight days, according to AAA. The motorist group says that for the first time since 2002, Americans plan to drive less this Memorial Day weekend than they did the year before. It says people are traveling closer to home and taking fewer trips.

And, that poll was taken during the last week of April, when gas was at $3.50 a gallon. At least 7 states now average more than $4 a gallon. Another survey conducted this month found 23% of Americans have changed their travel plans for this weekend due to high gas prices, with 12% canceling their vacations all together.

Meanwhile, for those just planning to stay home and fire up the barbecue, get ready for sticker shock there, too. With food inflation at the highest in almost two decades, the cost of an average barbecue could cost families about 6 percent more than last year.

Prices are up for everything from hot dogs to soda, potato chips and hamburger buns. Beef prices have been high, and chicken and pork prices are expected to rise because of feed and fuel costs.

For many people, that means cutting corners, by doing things like buying store brands instead of name brands. Others say they find themselves questioning every food purchase – wondering if they really need the item.

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST

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Filed under: Oil Prices • Rising Food Costs
May 21st, 2008
05:20 PM ET

What should the U.S. do now to address future oil shortages?

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(PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The day of reckoning may soon be upon us. Crude oil hit a record high of more than $133 a barrel today, after a government report that stockpiles of gas and oil have fallen unexpectedly.

But that's not the worst of it. Fears of oil shortages within 5 years actually pushed long-term oil futures to almost $140 a barrel yesterday. The Financial Times reports veteran traders say they've never seen such a jump, and that they believe more and more investors are betting that oil production will soon peak.

One influential investor says he thinks oil prices will hit $150 a barrel by the end of the year. And Goldman Sachs is predicting oil could top $200 a barrel within two years, which could mean gasoline at $7 or $8 a gallon.

All this comes as global demand for oil is increasing much faster than supply, especially in places like China, India, the Middle East and South America.

Crude oil prices have more than doubled just in the past year... something most Americans have felt at the pump, with a gallon of gas now costing $3.81 on average. According to AAA, the price of a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline hit a record high for the 14th day in a row. That has never happened before. What will we do when gas hits $7 a gallon?

Here’s my question to you: What should the U.S. be doing now to address possible oil shortages within five years?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST

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Filed under: Oil Prices • US Economy
May 15th, 2008
05:21 PM ET

Should speed limit be lowered to 55 mph?

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Click the Play Button to see what Jack and our viewers had to say.(PHOTO CREDIT: AP PHOTO)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Gasoline prices rose to a record today – for the 8th day in a row. The AAA says the national average for a gallon of regular unleaded is now $3.78. That's a 12% increase in just the last month. $4 a gallon is clearly in sight now, and if some experts are right, it could go a lot higher.

Surveys show that drivers have been changing their habits in order to cut fuel costs. They're doing things like shopping for cheaper gas or putting less in the tank instead of filling up. But how about slowing down?

Cars are most fuel efficient when driven between 30 mph and 60 mph. Above 65 mph, mileage drops sharply. This isn't rocket science. If drivers are forced to slow down, we would all use less gasoline. And if demand went down, prices might just follow.

One expert says reducing highway speeds from 70 mph to 60 mph would reduce gasoline consumption between 2% and 3%. That could translate into a price reduction of as much as 10%. At today's price, almost 38 cents a gallon.

This is exactly what happened in 1974 during the Middle East oil embargo. President Nixon and Congress imposed a national speed limit of 55 mph. Congress repealed the national speed limit law in 1995, and today there are 32 states with speed limits of 70 mph or higher. In Texas, you can even drive 80 mph on some roads.

But there doesn't appear to be much interest in Congress for a new national speed limit. John McCain and Hillary Clinton would rather pander to voters with the idea of a three-month vacation from the 18 cents a gallon federal gas tax which will never happen. And if it did, would save drivers a whopping 70 bucks.

Here’s my question to you: Should the highway speed limit be lowered to 55 mph to conserve gasoline?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST

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Filed under: Oil Prices • Speed Limit
May 7th, 2008
05:30 PM ET

Who has best plan for facing gas at $7 a gallon?

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The demand for fuel globally is outpacing the supply, which is one of the reasons oil prices have nearly doubled in just the last year. (PHOTO CREDIT: AP PHOTO)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

If the cost of gasoline is hurting Americans now at about $3.61 a gallon, imagine what would happen if it reaches $7 or $8 a gallon in the next couple of years.

While Hillary Clinton and John McCain pander to voters with a proposed gas tax holiday that will never see the light of day, Goldman Sachs is out with a report that oil prices could reach $200 a barrel within two years.

The demand for fuel globally is outpacing the supply, which is one of the reasons oil prices have nearly doubled in just the last year. This prediction from Goldman Sachs, along with a weaker dollar and concerns about declining production, helped push oil to a record of more than $123 a barrel today.

Meanwhile, the Energy Department says strong demand from places like China, India, Russia, Brazil and the Middle East will support high prices and keep global oil demand growing by about 1.2 million barrels a day this year.

The government says it expects gasoline prices to peak at about $3.73 a gallon in June, but some private analysts think gas will go even higher – topping $4 a gallon this summer.

So what's our next president going to do about all this? Clinton and McCain want to cut 18 cents off the price of a gallon of gas for a period of three months, which would save you a total of between $30 and $70. It's the same old story from the Washington politicians… slap a bandage on an open wound and hope the public doesn't notice it's still bleeding.

Here’s my question to you: Which candidate has a plan for dealing with gas at $7 or $8 a gallon within two years?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Barack Obama • Hillary Clinton • John McCain • Oil Prices
May 6th, 2008
02:02 PM ET

200 economists criticize gas-tax holiday

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Click the Play Button to see what Jack and our viewers had to say. (PHOTO CREDIT: AP PHOTO)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

What are the chances 200 economists would know more about the gas-tax holiday proposals of John McCain and Hillary Clinton? Clinton and McCain would like to buy your vote for somewhere between $28 and $70, which is how much you would save if their idea ever happens... which it won't. If it does, I will eat an Exxon station.

The economists – including four Nobel Prize winners, advisers to past presidents and Republicans as well as Democrats (some of whom are Clinton supporters) – signed a letter rejecting the candidates' plans for the summertime tax relief.

They say it would simply generate major profits for oil companies, instead of significantly lowering prices for consumers. Also, they say it would encourage people to keep buying expensive imported oil, instead of conserving. Lastly, they believe such a tax holiday wouldn't provide much relief for families who feel squeezed by current economic conditions.

Barack Obama has said all along this is nothing more than a political "gimmick." Top House Democrats – including Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Chairman of the Financial Services Committee Barney Frank – have also come out against these proposals.

But, Clinton and McCain don't seem to be paying much attention to the critics. Meanwhile Goldman Sachs is out with a report today that crude oil could rise to as much as $200 per barrel within the next 2 years. Where are Clinton and McCain on that? The answer is: nowhere. They're trying to buy your vote for 18 cents a gallon for three months.

Here’s my question to you: What does it mean when more than 200 economists say the McCain-Clinton gas-tax holiday is a bad idea?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Oil Prices
April 30th, 2008
05:20 PM ET

Save fuel by working less?

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A woman holds a sign during a protest against high fuel price with other truck drivers April 28, 2008 in Washington, DC. (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

44% of Americans in a recent survey said paying for gasoline was a serious problem for them. Gasoline costs were the most frequently cited economic concern across all income levels. 25% of people who make more than $75,000 per year said it's a serious problem while a whopping 63% of folks who earn less than $30,000 feel that way.

The cost of gasoline far outranks the number two economic concern, getting a good paying job or a raise at 29% and paying for healthcare and health insurance at 28%. The survey was conducted on behalf of the Kaiser Family Foundation.

And all indications are it's going to get worse before it gets better. As gasoline shoots past $4 per gallon in some parts of the country, the president of OPEC is predicting crude oil prices could hit $200 per barrel. A year ago average gas prices were less than $3 per gallon according to AAA.

One idea being tossed around as a way of dealing with this is the four-day workweek. Several states are considering it. Staggered work schedules would be necessary in order to keep government offices open five days a week, and some have suggested that would end up costing the taxpayers more money. It's also an idea that may gain traction in the private sector. I, for one, think it's a terrific idea.

Here’s my question to you: Would shifting to a four-day workweek be a good way to save fuel?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Oil Prices • US Economy
March 11th, 2008
05:02 PM ET

Cheney the right person to try & bring down oil prices?

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Pumps draw petroleum from oil wells before dawn as the cost of crude oil tops $104 per barrel in its surge to new record high prices March 6, 2008 in Signal Hill, California. (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)  Click on the play button to see what Jack and our viewers had to say.

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Vice President Dick Cheney is on his way to the Middle East to do something about skyrocketing oil prices. We'll pause here to give you a chance to stop laughing. Cheney will meet with the leaders of Saudi Arabia, Oman and Turkey. The White House says it wants OPEC to increase production.

This is the same Dick Cheney who was chairman and CEO of Halliburton before becoming vice president. The same Dick Cheney who headed up the administration's highly secretive energy task force. The administration's energy policy, such as it is, was crafted with the help of oil industry executives and lobbyists including former Enron Chairman Ken Lay. These meetings were held behind closed doors and the records from them remain secret to this day.

Here is what has happened since Cheney's secret energy meetings: When George Bush was sworn in as president in January, 2001, a gallon of gas cost $1.47 and a barrel of crude oil cost $30. Today gasoline costs an average of $3.22 and many experts are predicting it will hit $4 this spring. This morning, the price of a barrel of crude oil nearly hit $110.

And, while ordinary Americans suffer with increasingly crippling energy costs, the oil companies continue to rake in record profits. Exxon Mobil earned more than $40 billion last year. Oh, and they all get tax breaks, too, courtesy of your friends at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Here’s my question to you: Is Vice President Dick Cheney the right person to go to the Middle East to try to bring down skyrocketing oil prices?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Dick Cheney • Oil Prices
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