April 13th, 2011
04:57 PM ET

How are you handling near record high gas prices?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Get ready for more pain at the pump. Some experts are predicting gasoline could hit $5 a gallon by Memorial Day.
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Right now, the national average for a gallon of gasoline is more than $3.80. That's just for regular unleaded. In some places, $4 a gallon is already in the rear view mirror. Prices have been on a steady climb for weeks. We're still off the all-time high, but not by much. Gas prices peaked in July 2008, when the national average was $4.11 a gallon. It's almost a foregone conclusion we will blow by that number… and soon.

This comes at a bad time of course. It always does. We have a fragile U.S. economy, and gas prices could threaten its recovery. According to a new Reuters/Ipsos poll, 68% of Americans say the high cost of gasoline has forced them to cut back on other areas of spending. And 62% said they are driving less because of how much it costs to fill the tank.

Businesses are experiencing higher transportation costs. They're faced with the tough decision: Eat those costs or pass them on to consumers. Either way, it spells tough times for most Americans.

Crude oil prices, of course, drive gas prices. And the unrest in the Middle East has been pushing prices up. So has an ever-increasing demand in developing nations.

Republicans blame President Barack Obama. What's new? When Obama took office, the national average for a gallon of regular unleaded gas was about $1.79, less than half what it is today. Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has used Facebook to call Obama the $4 per gallon president. She's not often right, but might be onto something here.

Here’s my question to you: How are you handling near record high gas prices?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Oil Prices
March 3rd, 2011
04:56 PM ET

Mideast Turmoil: Time to drill for oil in Gulf of Mexico?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
Violence in the Middle East has been driving the price of oil higher for weeks now. It has been more than $100 a barrel several times.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2011/images/03/03/art.oil.jpg caption="White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel."]
It's times like these that our addiction to imported oil comes back to haunt us. And it has gotten worse since the horrific BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico last spring, which killed 11 rig workers and dumped nearly 5 million barrels of crude oil into the waters.

Suddenly, virtually all drilling activity in water deeper than 5,000 feet was ordered stopped. The Obama administration has given no sign that drilling there would return anytime soon – at least not to the level it was before the BP spill. The deepwater ban was lifted last fall, but no new permits were issued until just this week. Monday, the Department of the Interior issued the first permit for a deepwater well since last spring.

In a column on Politico.com, publisher and businessman Steve Forbes writes that by freezing U.S. energy assets in the Gulf, the U.S. government is "fueling an energy crisis that could bring this nation to its knees."

An estimated one-third of the oil used in this country comes from the Gulf of Mexico region, he says. And by limiting our drilling there, we become more dependent on oil-rich nations abroad, Libya included.

Here’s my question to you: In light of the Middle East turmoil, is it time to again drill aggressively for oil in the Gulf of Mexico?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Middle East • Oil Prices
February 3rd, 2011
06:00 PM ET

Mideast chaos break U.S. addiction to foreign oil?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

As unrest sweeps through the Middle East like wildfire, it's worth remembering this crisis will cost all of us - especially at the gas station.
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And maybe – just maybe – this time, the chaos in that part of the world will finally be enough to break America's addiction to foreign oil.

Although Egypt is not a major oil producer, it plays a key role in the transport of oil and gas headed to the U.S., Europe and Asia through the Suez Canal.

Without it, shippers would have to send crude oil and gas around the Horn of Africa. That adds on more than two weeks of delivery time to global markets.

With the ongoing violence and protests in Egypt, some shippers are worried about disruptions to the Suez Canal or nearby pipelines.

Nearly 2.5 million barrels of oil go through the canal every day – that's about equal to Iraq's output.

All this comes as global oil supplies are tightening – mostly due to China's increasing demand.

And the markets are reacting. Crude is trading at more than $103 a barrel – that's a 28-month high.

Even before the Mideast erupted, some experts were predicting gas at $5 a gallon by 2012.

And it's not just about the money. So much of the politics of the region has always been dictated by our need for oil. It would be nice to do what's in our best national interest for a change... instead of being beholden to Mideast dictators for their oil.

Here’s my question to you: Should the chaos in the Middle East be enough to break America's addiction to foreign oil?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Egypt • Middle East • Oil Prices
June 23rd, 2010
05:57 PM ET

Should deepwater offshore oil drilling be banned?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

As oil continues to gush into the Gulf of Mexico, the debate over deepwater offshore drilling is heating up.
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The Obama administration is pushing back after a federal judge ruled against a six month moratorium the president put in place after the BP oil disaster.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar says the government will issue a new moratorium that will be less restrictive on drilling.

Salazar says that we need a "pause" on deepwater drilling.

The White House says it doesn't make sense to keep drilling at these depths without knowing what happened - that doing so puts lots of people in danger.

But not everyone agrees.

Many in the offshore oil industry, as well as local politicians, have been calling for the ban to be lifted, saying it's hurting business and throwing people out of work.

The federal judge sided with the companies which filed suit against the government saying they are suffering "irreparable harm" as a result of the moratorium.

Louisiana's Governor Bobby Jindal and Senator Mary Landrieu are asking the Obama administration not to appeal the ruling.

Landrieu, a democrat, says she would rather they find a way forward that would meet the goals of safety and responsibility without jeopardizing an entire industry.

And Texas oil executive T. Boone Pickens compares shutting down all deepwater oil rigs after the BP accident to shutting down all airlines after one plane crash.

Here’s my question to you: Should deepwater offshore oil drilling be banned?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: BP oil spill • Offshore Drilling • Oil Prices • Oil spill
June 11th, 2009
06:00 PM ET

How will your life change if oil reaches $250 a barrel?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Experts predict the price of oil could soon hit $250 a barrel. Already, a barrel of crude is trading at almost $73 dollars - which is up from the lows of $30 a barrel only four months ago.

Prices are going up for lots of reasons; the big one is a new report that shows the world's proven crude reserves have fallen for the first time in 10 years. Demand for oil has gone up for the first time in 10 months; and as the global recession begins to wane, demand for energy is only expected to increase. Plus, it's the start of the summer driving season.

And, since oil is traded in dollars - a further decline in the value of the U.S. currency could also push oil prices higher. If oil prices keep going up, it's possible that could erase the glimmers of economic recovery we're starting to see.

Some analysts say they wouldn't be surprised if oil hits $80 or $90 a barrel soon; while the chairman of the Russian energy group Gazprom is repeating last year's estimates of $250 dollars barrel.

Meanwhile, rising oil prices mean rising gasoline prices. The national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is now $2.63, according to AAA. Gas prices have increased for 44 days in a row now, with the average price jumping almost 30 percent a gallon since the end of April.

Here’s my question to you: How will your life change if oil reaches $250 a barrel?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Gas Prices • Oil Prices
August 12th, 2008
04:37 PM ET

Have falling gas prices improved your outlook?


FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

If you feel like you have some change left after filling up at the pump these days, it's not your imagination: Gas prices have now fallen for 26 days in a row.

AAA puts the national average at just below $3.80 a gallon. Gas prices have dropped more than 7% since hitting a record high of $4.12 last month. However prices are still a dollar more than they were a year ago. The almost month-long drop in gas prices has come as oil has also fallen from a record high of $147 a barrel.

This is good news for the average consumer. A new Gallup poll suggests that Americans have become more optimistic about gas prices as they continue to drop.

Last month, almost 90% of those surveyed said gas prices would be even higher by the end of the year. But now that percentage has dropped by more than half to 40% - an especially large change in opinion for just a month's time. Also, only 16% of Americans think gas prices will increase by "a lot" by the end of the year, compared to 52% who felt that way last month.

Gallup has also found that Americans' views about the economy haven't been quite as gloomy lately. 73% of Americans rate the current conditions as "fair" or "poor”. That's still a lot of people, but it's down from 83% who felt that way last month.

Here’s my question to you: Have 26 days in a row of falling gas prices improved your outlook?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Oil Prices • US Economy
August 6th, 2008
04:54 PM ET

What should be done about Iraq's potential $80 billion oil surplus?

Oil burns at a refinery in Basra, Iraq. (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

While you're paying $4 a gallon for gasoline, think about this.

Iraq could end up with an $80 billion surplus thanks to its oil exports. $80 billion. Remember how we were told Iraq's oil money would pay for the war? We've spent more than $700 billion of our money including almost $50 billion to rebuild Iraq, and we haven't seen a dime of their oil money for our efforts.

U.S. auditors report that Baghdad had a $29 billion budget surplus from 2005 to 2007, and with the price of crude oil just about doubling in the last year, the surplus for 2008 is expected to hit as much as $50 billion.

Meanwhile, the U.S. continues to pour money into Iraq for reconstruction, repairs to their oil infrastructure, electricity, water and security. How much has Iraq spent? In the last 3 years, they've put less than $4 billion towards similar services.

Senator Carl Levin says it's inexcusable for U.S. taxpayers to foot the bill for projects the Iraqis could pay for themselves. Duh.

Of course Congress continues to approve one spending bill after another for Bush's war despite the Democrats' promise to end the war's funding in 2006.

Here's the bureaucratic explanation for the screwing the American taxpayer is getting. The Treasury Department says the U.S. is working with Iraqis to fix the issue and they believe "progress is being made". What a joke. Progress is Iraq writes the United States a check.

Here’s my question to you: What should be done about Iraq's potential $80 billion oil surplus?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Iraq • Oil Prices
July 17th, 2008
05:02 PM ET

Energy crisis or terrorism a bigger threat?

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/07/17/art.five.dollar.gas.gi.jpg caption="Regular unleaded gasoline remains at its record high price of $4.12 a gallon, according to AAA."]

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

This country's energy crisis is "more important and threatening to America's future than terrorism"

So says Republican Congressman John Peterson. He's one of the lawmakers heading up the bipartisan "energy working group" in the House, which is trying to bring back stalled energy legislation.

Peterson insists that energy legislation should be the top priority for Congress, even though there's no sense of urgency in Washington about energy prices. He says that leaders will have a hard time refusing to address this issue adding "This is the issue of the year. This is the issue of the decade."

The Pennsylvania Congressman says the energy crisis is destroying the middle class that made this country strong, and even calls for a "war on energy” – much like our war on terror.

He says that expanding offshore drilling is the most important thing Congress can do to boost domestic supply, something many Democrats have opposed. But Peterson also calls for conservation, tax breaks and tax credits for people to get rid of their old cars, and more funding for renewable energy sources.

There's also a bipartisan group working in the Senate on an energy bill. It's believed eventual compromises would include new domestic drilling to satisfy Republicans, while promoting conservation and alternative energy sources to make Democrats happy.

Here’s my question to you: Is the energy crisis a bigger threat to the U.S. than terrorism?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Oil Prices • US Economy
July 11th, 2008
05:28 PM ET

What should be done about Iran?

Iran's Shahab-3 missile being launched from an undisclosed location on Wednesday.(PHOTO CREDIT: AP PHOTO)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Iran is holding a fistful of aces.

Consider this: The Islamic Republic is the second-largest oil producing country in OPEC – with an output of 4 million barrels a day. And the head of OPEC warns that any military conflict involving Iran could result in an "unlimited" increase in oil prices. You think today's record trading high of more than $147 a barrel was bad news? He says the other members of OPEC wouldn't be able to make up for the lost production, and prices could head through the roof. Some experts are predicting prices of $250 per barrel or higher.

Meanwhile, Iran continues to go along with its nuclear program. In an attempt to showcase some of its military might, the Iranians test-fired a long-range missile Wednesday and several shorter-range missiles Wednesday and Thursday. A top Iranian military official has threatened to close down the straits of Hormuz if Iran is attacked; more than 17 million barrels of oil flow through the strait every day.

In light of Iran's missile tests, the U.S. and Israel are flexing their muscles, too. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says the U.S. will "defend our interests and defend our allies." And Israel, whom Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has vowed to destroy, is also chiming in. Defense Minister Ehud Barak says he favors sanctions and diplomatic pressure, but that Israel has proved in the past that it's not afraid to act if its security is at risk.

Here’s my question to you: What should be done about Iran, considering how much influence it has over the world’s oil supply?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Iran • Oil Prices
June 30th, 2008
02:40 PM ET

Was the Iraq war about oil all along?

Iraqi flags flutter at a new oil refinery plant in the Shiite holy city of Najaf, central Iraq. Click the Play Button to see what jack and our viewers had to say. (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

When it comes to the real reason for the Iraq war, we've pretty much heard it all: First it was WMD, then it was about the war on terror and removing Saddam Hussein, then it was about spreading democracy. But it was never about the oil.

Now, as Bill Moyers reported on PBS: "...one by one, these concocted rationales went up in smoke, fire and ashes. And now the bottom line turns out to be ... the bottom line. It is about oil."

More than 5 years after the start of the war, the U.S. has lost more than 4,100 troops, tens of thousands more are wounded for life, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis are dead, millions more are displaced, and the U-S taxpayer is stuck with a bill that could top trillions of dollars. And, what about the oil? Well, it hit a new record high today of more than $143 a barrel. Gas prices are up almost 38% from a year ago.

The New York Times reports that the Bush administration played a key role in drawing up no-bid contracts between the Iraqi government and five major Western oil companies to develop some of the largest fields in Iraq. Critics accuse the administration of making sure Western companies get this access in the country that holds the third-largest oil reserves in the world. For example, Russian companies with experience in Iraq were hoping for contracts, but they're still waiting.

The White House denies steering the Iraqis toward any decisions. A State Department official says its advice was "not binding."

Here’s my question to you: Do you believe the Iraq war was about oil all along?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Oil Prices • War in Iraq
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