Archive for the ‘gasoline’ Category

As Fuel Prices Fall, Will Push For Alternatives Lose Steam?

October 20, 2008

By Steven Mufson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, October 20, 2008; Page A01

Just four months ago, a conference here on electric cars drew four times as many people as expected. District fire marshals ordered some of the crowd to leave, and the atmosphere was more like that of a rock concert than an energy conference. A brief film depicted an electric car owner driving off with a beautiful woman to the strains of “The Power of Love” while her original companion struggles to pay for gasoline. The audience cheered.

One discordant note in the series of enthusiastic speeches came from Bill Reinert, one of the Toyota Prius designers. He cautioned that designing and ramping up production of a new car takes five years.

Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez (R) speaks during a visit ...
Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez (R) speaks during a visit to a gas pipeline project in Cumana, 400 km east of Caracas. Chavez will urge fellow members of the OPEC oil cartel to implement a cut in production, with a goal setting a price floor of no less than 80 dollars a barrel, the Venezuelan leader told AFP Sunday.(AFP/Thomas Coex)

“If oil goes down to $60 or $70 a barrel and gasoline gets back to $2.50 a gallon, and that very possibly could happen,” he said, “will that demand stay the same or will we shift back up?”

It didn’t take five years to hit those numbers. One type of oil shock has given way to another. Even more swiftly than the price of oil rose, it has tumbled to the range that seemed far-fetched when Reinert spoke and oil was more than $130 a barrel. Now that drop threatens a wide variety of game-changing plans to find alternatives to oil or ways to drastically reduce U.S. consumption.

“Declining oil prices can give us an artificial and temporary sense that reducing oil consumption and energy consumption is an issue we can put off,” said Greg Kats, a managing director of Good Energies, a multibillion-dollar venture capital firm that invests in global clean energy.

The credit crisis is compounding that threat by making it more difficult to finance capital-intensive projects, whether they are new auto assembly lines or solar panels or wind turbines. General Motors has been touting the Chevy Volt as the first mass-marketed, plug-in hybrid vehicle. GM, which has been holding merger talks with Chrysler, believes the project will help justify federal financing. It hopes to deliver the car by the end of 2010.
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p-dyn/content/article/2008/10/19
/AR2008101902073.html?hpid=topnews

An oil rig in a file photo. (File/Reuters) ...
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Congress grills oil execs on high prices

April 1, 2008
By H. JOSEF HEBERT, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON – Don’t blame us, oil industry chiefs told a skeptical Congress. Top executives of the country’s five biggest oil companies said Tuesday they know record fuel prices are hurting people, but they argued it’s not their fault and said their huge profits are in line with other industries.

A pump attendant fills up a car at a gas station in Kuala Lumpur ... 

Appearing before a House committee, the executives were pressed to explain why they should continue to get billions of dollars in tax breaks when they made $123 billion last year and motorists are paying record gasoline prices at the pump.

“On April Fool’s Day, the biggest joke of all is being played on American families by Big Oil,” Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., said, aiming his remarks at the five executives sitting shoulder-to-shoulder in a congressional hearing room.

“Our earnings, although high in absolute terms, need to be viewed in the context of the scale and cyclical, long-term nature of our industry as well as the huge investment requirements,” said J.S. Simon, senior vice president of Exxon Mobil Corp., which made a record $40 billion last year.

“We depend on high earnings during the up cycle to sustain … investment over the long-term, including the down cycles,” he continued.

The up cycle has been going on too long, suggested Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo. “The anger level is rising significantly.”

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The Latin Crisis

March 24, 2008

By Kay Bailey Hutchison
The Washington Times
March 24, 2008

This month Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez opened the next phase of his dangerous political career by nearly provoking a war with Colombia. In the aftermath of his military threats, the Colombian government learned disturbing information about the relationship between Mr. Chavez and the terrorist group FARC — the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.
Hugo Chávez
Hugo Chavez called President Bush
“El Diablo” or the devil while addressing
the United Nations….

In light of those revelations, and their implications for U.S. national security, perhaps it is time the Bush administration placed Venezuela on the list of state sponsors of terrorism.
On March 1, the Colombian military retaliated against numerous unprovoked FARC attacks in their territory and struck one of their clandestine camps — in Ecuador, killing one of the organization’s top leaders. FARC, a formerly Soviet-backed insurgency, today makes a living off international kidnapping, drug trafficking and terrorism. It still holds hundreds of hostages for ransom, including American missionaries and a former Colombian presidential candidate. It has been designated as one of the world’s leading terrorist organizations by the State Department.
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In the days after the raid, Colombia uncovered e-mails in which FARC operatives reported, after meeting with Mr. Chavez, that significant financial support and even munitions would be forthcoming from the Chavez government. Evidence suggests Venezuela may have provided as much as $300 million to FARC since Mr. Chavez came to power.
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If indeed Venezuela has provided money, weapons and other logistical or diplomatic support to FARC, it is guilty of supporting terrorism, a grievous violation of international law. In the wake of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the United Nations Security Council reaffirmed the obligation of all states to refrain from assisting terrorists or tolerating their presence inside the country. The United States does not distinguish between terrorists and those who harbor them and support them — and neither should any of our allies.
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Venezuela must now be held accountable for its descent into a terrorist haven, and Ecuador should not protest when free countries, like Colombia, step across boundaries to protect innocent lives from plotting terrorists. On March 17, when the Organization of American States held its summit in Washington, it missed an opportunity to take a strong stand against terrorism and instead passed a resolution condemning Colombia’s actions in self-defense.
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While imposing additional sanctions on Venezuela could cause adverse short-term economic consequences, Mr. Chavez needs us more than we need him. Venezuelan oil has an extremely high-sulfur content, which requires special refineries to turn it into gasoline. Most of those refineries are in the Southern U.S. along the Gulf Coast. In short, Venezuela would have a very hard time finding other buyers if it loses its most important customer.
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And with the increased willingness of Venezuela’s military to stand up to Mr. Chavez — not to mention his sinking popularity among the public — the United States is one customer Mr. Chavez can’t afford to lose.

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Oil rises to new record as dollar drops

March 17, 2008

By GILLIAN WONG, Associated Press

SINGAPORE – Oil prices jumped to an all-time trading high near $112 a barrel Monday in Asia as the tumbling U.S. dollar and plunging stock markets prompted investors to seek shelter in commodities.

An oil rig in a file photo. Oil jumped to a record above $111 ...
Oil jumped to a record above $111 a barrel on Monday, as a surprise weekend cut in the Federal Reserve discount rate and the fire sale of stricken investment bank Bear Stearns sent the dollar to all-time lows.(File/Reuters)

Investors fled the dollar after a surprise move by the U.S. Federal Reserve on Sunday to provide cash to financially squeezed Wall Street investment houses pushed the battered greenback deeper into multiyear lows against the yen.

“The Fed’s move overall will help the liquidity of the U.S. dollar, and that will really further soften the dollar,” said Victor Shum, an energy analyst with Purvin & Gertz in Singapore. “Meanwhile, investors seem to be just following the mantra of buying oil and commodities to hedge against the falling dollar and inflation.”

Light, sweet crude for April delivery spiked to a record $111.80 a barrel — up $1.59 from Friday’s close — in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, midafternoon in Singapore. It later slipped back to $111.61 a barrel.

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Gas prices jump, oil hits $110

March 12, 2008
By JOHN WILEN, AP Business Writer 

NEW YORK – Gasoline and oil prices extended their record-setting streaks Wednesday, with gas at the pump reaching a new high of nearly $3.25 and crude surpassing $110 for the first time.

Investors shrugged off an Energy Department report that crude oil and gasoline supplies jumped last week.

Pumps draw petroleum from oil wells in California. Oil prices ...
Pumps draw petroleum from oil wells in California. Oil prices struck a record high of 109.20 dollars per barrel after the dollar hit a fresh all-time low against the euro.
(AFP/GETTY IMAGES/File/David McNew)

The national average price of a gallon of regular gas rose by 1.9 cents overnight to $3.246 a gallon, a new record, according to AAA and the Oil Price Information Service. Pump prices are following crude’s recent surge, and could rise as high as $3.75 a gallon this spring, analysts say.

Light, sweet crude for April delivery rose $1.17 to settle at $109.92 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange after earlier rising to a new trading record of $110.20.

The dollar weakened throughout the day Wednesday, setting a number of new low marks against the euro and attracting new buyers to the oil market. Crude futures offer a hedge against a falling dollar, and oil futures bought and sold in dollars are more attractive to foreign investors when the dollar is weak. Many analysts believe the dollar’s decline is the reason crude futures have surged to new records in 11 of the past 12 sessions, despite the fact that crude supplies have risen 10.2 percent since early January.

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dlSsSHCXulpys0NUE

Gasoline prices hit new high, seen jumping more

March 10, 2008

NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. average retail gasoline prices have reached a new high of almost $3.20 per gallon and will likely jump another 20 to 30 cents in the next month, worsening the pain of consumers struggling to make ends meet in an economic downturn.
The price of unleaded super gasoline is $4.019 at a Valero gas ... 
The price of unleaded super gasoline is $4.019 at a Valero gas station in Los Angeles March 7, 2008. Gas prices extended their advance toward record levels on Thursday. The national average price of a gallon of gas rose 0.7 cent overnight to $3.185, according to AAA and the Oil Price Information Service. Gas prices are following oil higher, and are expected to peak this spring well above last May’s record of $3.227 a gallon.(AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

Gasoline prices are rising sharply as refiners, who have kept prices down in order to compete for sales, become more willing to pass on their higher costs of crude oil, according to an industry analyst on Sunday.

The national average for self-serve regular unleaded gas was nearly $3.20 a gallon on March 7, up about 9.44 cents per gallon in the past two weeks, according to the nationwide Lundberg survey of about 7,000 gas stations. The price has risen 64 cents per gallon in the past 12 months.

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Bush: US must “get off oil”

March 5, 2008

WASHINGTON – President Bush says the United States has to change its habits and “get off oil” to reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign suppliers.

U.S. President George W. Bush speaks to delegates during his ... 
U.S. President George W. Bush speaks to delegates during his visit to the Washington International Renewable Energy Conference March 5, 2008.
REUTERS/Jason Reed (UNITED STATES)

Bush made his comments in a speech in Washington after OPEC said it would not put more oil on the global market. During a trip to the Middle East in January, Bush had urged OPEC to increase production in order to ease soaring gasoline prices.

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Oil Futures Shoot Past $100 Per Barrel

January 2, 2008

NEW YORK (AP) — Crude oil prices soared to $100 a barrel Wednesday for the first time, reaching that milestone amid an unshakeable view that global demand for oil and petroleum products will outstrip supplies.

Surging economies in China and India fed by oil and gasoline have sent prices soaring over the past year, while tensions in oil producing nations like Nigeria and Iran have increasingly made investors nervous and invited speculators to drive prices even higher.

Violence in Nigeria helped give crude the final push over $100. Bands of armed men invaded Port Harcourt, the center of Nigeria’s oil industry Tuesday