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Nick Cunningham

Nick Cunningham

Nick Cunningham is an independent journalist, covering oil and gas, energy and environmental policy, and international politics. He is based in Portland, Oregon. 

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Can Trump Counter Soaring Gasoline Prices?

Ethanol plant

Oil prices surged to their highest level in more than three years on Thursday, as the number and volume of supply outages continues to rise. The odds of a significant shortfall in supply are also growing by the day. With U.S. midterm elections nearing, the more oil prices continue to rise, the more likely it is that President Trump decides to tap the strategic petroleum reserve (SPR) to tamp down oil prices just ahead of the November vote.

The 180-degree turnaround in the oil market from May is pretty staggering, even for an oil market steeped in volatility and uncertainty. In late May, rumors of higher output from Saudi Arabia and Russia led to a crash in prices, and led to speculation of another lengthy downturn. By late June, however, it isn’t clear that even a massive 1-million-barrel-per-day increase from OPEC+ will be enough to fill the worsening supply gap.

That means higher oil prices are likely. WTI has spiked by about $8 per barrel since last week, and continues to climb higher. “We are in a very attractive oil price environment and our house view is that oil will hit $90 by the end of the second quarter of next year,” Hootan Yazhari, head of frontier markets equity research at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, said. “We are moving into an environment where supply disruptions are visible all over the world… and of course President Trump has been pretty active in trying to isolate Iran and getting U.S. allies not to purchase oil from Iran,” he added.

As has been widely reported, the Trump administration has aggressively pressed Saudi Arabia to boost output to offset declines from Iran. Saudi Arabia has complied, promising to ramp up output to about 11 mb/d in July, up from less than 10 mb/d in May. It’s an astounding increase, both in terms of volume and the speed of the increase. Related: The Saudis Won’t Prevent The Next Oil Shock

But it still might not be enough. Outages in Libya, Venezuela, Iran, Canada, Angola and Kazakhstan will probably more than overwhelm the increase in supply from Saudi Arabia.

That raises the odds that Trump turns to the SPR to head off higher oil prices. “We think that WTI would not have to advance much further before the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) is brought into play,” Standard Chartered wrote in a note. “Higher gasoline prices, particularly in the Midwest, are likely to provoke a SPR release in the run-up to November’s mid-term elections.”

U.S. politicians have historically been pretty reluctant to draw down on stocks from the SPR. The operating principle is that the SPR is only to be used in the event of an emergency, a true supply crunch. A look back at past SPR sales shows how sparingly it has been used. The below list is from the U.S. Department of Energy’s website:

• 2014 March: Test Sale - 5 million barrels
• 2011 June: IEA Coordinated Release - 30,640,000 barrels
• 2005 September: Hurricane Katrina Sale - 11 million barrels
• 1996-97 October; January; April: Total non-emergency sales - 28 million barrels
• 1990/91 September, January: Desert Shield/Storm Sale - 21 million barrels
(4 million in August 1990 test sale; 17 million in January 1991 Presidentially-ordered drawdown)
• 1985 - November: Test Sale - 1.0 million barrels Related: How Important Are Egypt’s Gas Discoveries?

The norms surrounding the SPR have eroded in the past few years, however, largely due to the surge in U.S. oil production. The dramatic cut in net imports, combined with the general perception of abundant supplies, has diminished the political salience of the SPR. In 2011, when President Obama tapped the SPR in the aftermath of the Arab Spring and the outages in Libya, there was a lot of criticism about his political motivations. A few years later, the U.S. Congress is legislating sales of the SPR for budgetary reasons, essentially putting an end to 40 years of U.S. energy security strategy.

All of that is to say that the Trump administration will have no qualms about pulling barrels out of the salt caverns in Texas and Louisiana, and dumping oil onto the market to push prices down, especially as he faces political headwinds heading into the November midterm elections. The Congressionally-approved sales of the SPR, and the lack of uproar that it caused, would take the sting out of the political fallout from releasing oil from the SPR. Although, to be sure, the norms-busting President probably wouldn’t feel constrained by tradition anyway.

The oil market is tight and trending in a bullish direction, but the release of barrels from the SPR would be one of the few surprising developments that could hit the pause button on the rally in prices.


By Nick Cunningham of Oilprice.com

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  • Aghast on June 28 2018 said:
    Why not just keep the current pace of decline for the SPR from 2017, about 4.6%, and if needed, accelerate in the event of an external supply shock? Sounds boring and yet like the compounding of interest over time, inch by inch, one inch builds upon the foundation of the prior and periodicity causes for an orderly and secure financial condition.

    Supply and demand are tight for oil due to the accelerating demand for the product. Extend 4.6 percent annual decline rate on the SPR through 2024 and we are around 500 bazillion barrels, holding for an emergency release. There will be no SPR release in the absence of an external shock, which is always possible.

    Canadians were robbed of financial security for having been baited like horses for carrots about a pipeline that would never be built. Now the government has purchased a private domestic unfinished pipeline for 4.5 billion with taxpayer money. Really?

    These shenanigans have serious financial consequences. Does anyone care up there in the Great White North? For 10 long years the XL was strung along like a carrot by US leadership. To think that the US environmental agencies extended approval for the pipeline and it was never in fact built, makes no sense whatsoever - Canada has been set up and kicked in the mud.

    Trump will be leveraging the US supply of oil and gas to extract further benefits from trade with foreign countries. Gas prices do tend to rise, along with interest rates in a tight, but eventually the perpetually fragile economic cycle falls into place. Cycles cannot be avoided regardless of who is president. Econ growth generally picks up for higher government outlays, record tax collection with less regulations and lower taxes for small business.
  • Mitch on June 28 2018 said:
    Gasoline inventories are still around the 5 year highs, and the price of futures are 20 cents lower than the spike when WTI reached current prices per barrel back in May. Exports should fall way off now that the brent-wti spread has closed to 4 dollars.
  • John Brown on June 28 2018 said:
    The realease of oil from the SPR would be an excellent way to fight the corrupt manipulation of oil prices upward.
  • Victor Edwards on June 29 2018 said:
    It has reached a point that any article about crude oil and supply is simply not believable. Just weeks ago the reports of a massive glut of oil, including half a billion bbls in ships anchored offshore was the talk of the day. In a fortnight the industry claims to have a shortage, which is simply nonsense. We consumers are being gouged by the avaricious oil industry. Thank goodness that electricity will soon cut severely into the oil industry as society gets really, really tired of the manipulation of supply and demand by the industry. The very idea of supply and demand as having any effect at all is but an ancient now-discredited theory in some arcane and very old textbook.
  • Mamdouh G Salameh on June 29 2018 said:
    President Trump has every incentive to tame down oil prices ahead of the midterm elections in November otherwise they could undo the economic boost from his tax cuts.

    Still, President Trump doesn’t need to release any oil from the strategic petroleum reserve (SPR). The reason is that with the exception of the hyped loss of Iranian oil exports as a result of US sanctions, there is still enough supply glut in the global oil market to take care of the outages in Libya, Venezuela, Iran, Canada, Angola and Kazakhstan. The proof is that oil prices have been hovering around $73-$77 a barrel for the last three weeks. If there is a real supply gap in the market, prices would have shot far beyond $80 by now.

    And even if President Trump does release some oil from the SPR, the impact on oil prices will be mild and short-lived against oil market fundamental positive enough to support much higher prices.

    As for Iran, you are assuming that the sanctions will lead to a significant loss of Iranian oil exports. This is not going to happen. Iran’s trump card is the petro-yuan which has virtually nullified the effectiveness of US sanctions. That is why I have been saying that Iranian oil exports will not lose a single barrel of oil as a result of the US sanctions.

    Another myth is that Saudi Arabia can raise its oil production to 11 million barrels of oil a day (mbd). Saudi claim that it can produce at least 12.5 mbd if needed doesn’t stand scrutiny. Saudi Arabia’s production never exceeded 10.4 mbd before with almost a million barrels of which came not from actual production but from stored crude oil on tankers and on land. Saudi Arabia is only able to raise its oil production by 400,000 b/d being the amount it cut under the OPEC/non-OPEC production agreement. Moreover, Saudi Arabia’s claim that it has a spare production capacity of 2 mbd is very questionable.

    Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
    International Oil Economist
    Visiting Professor of Energy Economics at ESCP Europe Business School, London
  • GRANTED on June 29 2018 said:
    Trump, a self-professed "stable genius" will find a well-balanced and ingenious solution - in his own mind.
  • Mark on June 29 2018 said:
    Gas always goes up under Republicans. Always.
  • Alan Wright on June 29 2018 said:
    I hope not; we need to the price of all fossil fuels to go up. Science has known for 200 years that CO2 traps radiant energy. All the CO2 we are spewing into the atmosphere is raising global temperatures that are creating extreme weather events including droughts, floods and record storms. Last April the average CO2 levels planet wide passed 410 parts per million for the first time in millions of years and only two years ago passed 400 ppm. We need a national fee with dividend on fossil fuels (see Citizens Climate Lobby .org) to wean ourselves off of carbon based energy sources as fast as possible. We have the technology to do this; all we need to make it happen is an economic incentive. A carbon fee would jump start our economy with innovation.
  • Michael Gerard on June 29 2018 said:
    I barely remember $.98 cent gas in 1998. lol
  • Sad Pepe on June 29 2018 said:
    T. Boone Pickens floated the idea some years ago about the federal government supporting the creation of a nationwide network of natural gas filling stations. It's a cleaner burning fuel (and produces less carbon dioxide, if you care about that sort of thing) and would more importantly serve the purpose of being a competing fuel for the consumer's dollars.
  • Max on June 29 2018 said:
    the liberal media wil be pushing the high gasoline prices narrative as they have been, what they will leave out is the price of wholesale gasoline as of june 27 2018 that's before sales tax by state is added is $2.11 per/gal
    on June 28 2010 under obama it was $2.13 per/gal and that was eighth yrs earlier also from Feb 2011 to Sept 2014 the price a gallon was NOT below $2.50 furthermore under obama gasoline averaged $.80 a gallon higher than under president bush liberals are entitled to their opinion but they are not entitled to their own facts

    you can get an idea by using gasbuddy and scroll out 10 yrs
  • Matt Schilling on June 29 2018 said:
    Of course he can!
    1) Declare sub $60 oil in the strategic interest of the US - to deprive anti-American actors on the world stage the petrodollars needed to harm us - and open up the Strategic Oil Reserve.
    2) Create and announce credible plans to rapidly make enough pristine clean diesel and jet fuel from cheap, superabundant domestic coal to fully supply the US armed forces. A Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded a decade ago, for a breakthrough that greatly enhances the efficiency of doing this. It is high time that breakthrough made it from the lab to the manufacturing plant.
    3) Create and announce a credible plan to rapidly wean any Americans still using residential heating oil off of it.
    4) Break ground on a major nuclear power plant each month until we have at least doubled our inventory.
  • tempered1 on June 29 2018 said:
    A better option MIGHT BE to tell OUR OWN OIL COMPANIES to STOP SHIPPING OUR OUR OIL OVERSEAS just to make an extra buck!

    Everybody screams MAGA - but here's where it starts! TAKING CARE OF YOUR OWN! It's time to put the PEOPLE FIRST!
  • nuthinmuffin on June 29 2018 said:
    let the market determine the price...trump is not responsible for the price of oil
  • Billion003 on June 29 2018 said:
    Overall, higher gas prices hurt. No doubt about that. But its almost bizarre that during times of lower price gasoline people run out and buy the worst gas guzzling vehicles they can. Then as gas prices go up - as they always do - they end up hurting. Their bank accounts are drained, and the vehicle is worth less as a trade-on.
    So, on an individual basis I see so much of the pain of higher fuel prices to be self-inflicted by the individual.
  • nuthinmuffin on June 29 2018 said:
    let the market determine the price...trump is not responsible for the price of oil.

    Under President Obama, the record gas price was reached the week of May 9, 2011 when gasoline averaged $3.965 per gallon. never a mention...that's over thirty five percent higher than today's average of $2.86.
  • Alec Taprobane on June 29 2018 said:
    "The very idea of supply and demand as having any effect at all is but an ancient now-discredited theory in some arcane and very old textbook. -Victor Edwards

    I have a strong suspicion that the textbook you learned economic theory out of was colored red.
  • Bob H. on June 29 2018 said:
    I am wondering if I missed something along the way.The last I heard, we were all of sudden one of the worlds largest oil exporters.Now oil for us,here in the US, is in short supply,,reason for higher gas prices??Ihope Trump does NOT release oil from our SPR tonight rising prices.It would only weaken our country, at a time like now, when we need MORE strength, not less.
  • erik on June 29 2018 said:
    Seems the higher prices go, the more shale comes on line. as the harder to reach places can be 40-60 a barrel to extract.
    the prices shouldn't jump much above 80 before more fields come on line (who also shut down when price nears 40)

    Our Frackers can produce us out of high prices.
    God bless our wildcats!
  • Joe Rice on June 29 2018 said:
    ITS VERY SIMPLE... All we have to do is ban speculation when oil gets above 60 dollars a barrel..87% of oil contracts are merely bets and not real oil, meaning the actual price we pay is artificially raised 5 times what it should be...Its pretty absurd to allow something as volatile as oil, which happens to dictate the stability of the economy, to be controlled by the gambling attics at Goldnan Sachs...
  • MoreFreedom on June 29 2018 said:
    Seems a lot of people, with socialistic tendencies and desires, think the government controls the economy and prices of goods and services, rather than the markets. While government taxes are added to the price, free markets make prices reflect product costs and keep them low.

    Only in socialist/communist countries do governments control the prices, often forcing producers to lose money (look at Venezuela: with the worlds largest reserves of oil, their socialist oil company loses money and production has fallen) in an attempt to win votes. It essentially uses government to steal from some for the benefit of the politically connected.

    If you want low prices, you should support free markets and freedom. If you want socialism, you're asking for the government to make everyone poor and products unavailable. In free markets bread (and everything else) waits for customers, while in socialist countries, people wait in lines for bread when they can find it.
  • Omaha Vike on June 29 2018 said:
    Since when is it the POTUS' responsibility to determine/control prices of free market goods?
  • american on June 29 2018 said:
    The solution is to start releasing the national security classifications on free energy patents that have been frozen, and to break industry collusion against new technologies for free energy.
  • Kaiser Derden on June 29 2018 said:
    more hand wringing about a 20 cent increase in gas prices DESTROYING the economy ... good lord ... the markets will adjust as needed ... always has always will ...
  • Jerry Redmond on June 29 2018 said:
  • Hal Slusher on June 29 2018 said:
    Gas always bounces around based on supply and demand. Price is up American oil fields will start pumping like mad another 2 year oil boom in the Dakotas. Obama did everything he could to shut down production. New pipelines going in more oil flowing good for all of us.
  • Jay Phillips on June 29 2018 said:
    I love the quote “gas always goes up under Republicans”. Let’s analyze this bit of genius. What are two reasons for gas prices rising? First a reduction in supply. Democrats love to put bans on oil production in the US. This causes oil prices to rise. The second is increased demand. Under Republicans unemployment is low, the economy grows, more people are working and thus more people are driving to work every day. This causes gas prices to rise, even though oil production is at an all time high in the US. For the first time in US history the country is producing more oil than it imports and yet it still can not keep up with the demand. This is due to a strong economy. In order to make people who hate Republicans happy and lower the price of gas we need to increases unemployment. Force more people to sit at home all day doing nothing. Make more people dependent on government assistance. This is the Democrat way.
  • Tammy on June 29 2018 said:
    Getting rid of reforumulated gasoline would drop the price $.50 per gallon on the spot and your car would get better gas mileage. That would be a much better way to solve the problem.
  • David J. Webb Sr. on June 29 2018 said:
    The price of oil has to come down simply because of supply and demand. The United States has other ways of producing oil than importing it. As the price rises those other methods become more profitable. Which could mean a permanent solution to imported oil.
    Let them sell it to someone else like Europe at the fantastic prices they pay for gasoline.
    The Faukland Islands also has a huge deposit of oil off their coast line.
    It is supposed to be bigger than anything in the Arabian fields.
    There is a time and place for everything. Maybe it is time to break the habit of getting our oil from people that have a price we can no longer afford.
    That will take real leadership in the Congress and the Presidency of this country.
    Shale is another possibility.
    Right now the major car people are going to hybrids and electric cars.
    We are talking 55 mpg on these cars or no gasoline required on the electrics and they recharge at 4 times less than the expense of a gasoline engine with no pollution period.
    It isn't the time it happened to us before. Technology has moved on. Gasoline is a convenience not a necessity in the quantities we used before.
    Trucks can and will convert over to natural gas as a fuel easily.
    If OPEC raises the price, they are in danger of losing their market all together.
  • busseja on June 29 2018 said:
    Welcome to California 76.7 cents per gallon

    47.3 cents in primary and secondary excise taxes (Raised 40% in 2016 by the democrats)
    2 cents on the underground storage tank fee
    9 cents on the sales tax (as per the Tax Foundation estimate)
    18.4 cents a gallon federal tax.

    And that is for gas. Diesel is almost $1 tax per gallon.

    Hard for Trump to overcome that. Overcoming democrats on a tax and spend binge is difficult.
  • Amos on June 29 2018 said:
    Is this really the President's job? You guys need to knock off believing you have the authority to define the President's job description. It's obvious on a scale of 1 to 10, your knowledge of the Constitution is 0.
  • AnIndividual on June 29 2018 said:
    Well, he could, by removing all taxes, removing all requirements for the multitude of variations in chemical makeup, and generally remove all the shackles of government control over fossil fuel's extraction, refinement, distribution and sale. In other words, if the free market was allowed to function, prices would plummet.
  • Mina on June 29 2018 said:
    These prices of crude oil are nothing compared to what they were during Obammy's 8 yrs.
  • Jerrell Strawn on June 29 2018 said:
    What soaring gas price. It's $2.39 in Mississippi.
  • Max on June 29 2018 said:
    the liberal media wil be pushing the high gasoline prices narrative as they have been, what they will leave out is the price of wholesale gasoline as of june 27 2018 that's before sales tax by state is added is $2.11 per/gal
    on June 28 2010 under obama it was $2.13 per/gal and that's eighth yrs earlier also from Feb 2011 to Sept 2014 the price a gallon was NOT below $2.50 furthermore under obama gasoline averaged $.80 a gallon higher than under president bush liberals are entitled to their opinion but they are not entitled to their own facts

    you can get an idea by using gasbuddy and scroll out 10 yrs
  • Aleric on June 29 2018 said:
    I see the same Leftist Trolls on here. Oh and Mark gas went to $4 a gallon under OBAMA, it was $2.78 under Bush. Basic facts escape you it seems.
  • Tom Osbone on June 29 2018 said:
    Release the oil reserves. Build more refineries.
  • Christopher T Bowen on June 29 2018 said:
    I just want to say your headline, " Can Trump Counter Soaring Gasoline Prices?" is so politically & overtly aimed at leadership, and does not even reflect the author's voice. . . brings me to the conclusion that you are merely another bozo website for liberals.
  • Ty Quando on June 29 2018 said:
    Trump single-handedly caused the oil price spike by ordering the world to boycott Iran's oil, so that Russia can get rich on the spike in oil prices he caused. Too bad that the American motorist has to pay for this corruption with skyrocketing gasoline prices.
  • Hdhehee on June 29 2018 said:
    Oil prices go up as oil usage and or production problems go up. When does usage go up? When the economy heats up.
  • Dave on June 29 2018 said:
    What happened to 10mil bpd being pumped domestically?
    Same price if it was pumped and shipped from Saudi Arabia.
    Remember the fight with the Natives over the pipeline going through their land?
    How about the fracking going on all over the country ruining underground water supplies and causing earthquakes?
    For what, greedy, unethical oil companies?
  • Richard Giddens on June 29 2018 said:
    I sure am glad I bought an electric car before this latest gouge-rip-off fest started. Remember back in '08 when oil reached an all time high?
  • James Bernard on June 29 2018 said:
    More proof that presidents have ZERO control over oil market prices
  • TMA1 on June 29 2018 said:
    He will by allowing more refineries to be built......
  • Rick Gudobba on June 30 2018 said:
    Seriously, over the last 35 years oil and gasoline have been less inflationary than just about anything else that I buy on a regular basis.
  • Jake Rechtet on June 30 2018 said:
    A large portion of the price of gas is tax. States could lower the price of gas immediately if they wanted to, especially Scumifornia.
  • Hankmeister on June 30 2018 said:
    I say this tongue in political cheek (since we're told by the left that all things are political) but why would we want to "tame" oil prices? Haven't we've been told by the previous administration that higher oil and fuel prices would save Gaia Mother Earth and would push us into alternative "clean" energy? So why all the handwringing on both sides of the aisle? We were told by the know-it-alls on the left that $7/gal would be a nice target price to save planet Earth … all other national and international economic factors be damned! But that assumes the alternate universe of the radical left actually exists and half the nations still wanting to enter the 21st Century will simply have to pay higher energy prices for their modernization … or not modernize at all! This proving, the physical universe and economic realities are racist! Heh!

    Of course I want to pay only a $1/gallon gasoline and forget the unhinged rantings of those who feed unicorns in their backyards on a daily basis. I certainly believe $1.50/gallon gasoline here in America is absolutely possible if it weren't for all the OPEC market manipulations and unreasoned fears how cheaper oil prices would crash some economies of oil-producing nations, especially now that America is pumping more oil.
  • Fred762 on June 30 2018 said:
    Some weeks ago Congress rescinded the 40 yr old ban on the USA selling oil in world markets, despite the fact that USA has been a net IMPORTER of oil for years. So, this is probably behind the present run-up of oil prices now, and IMHO we will see Big Oil reap massive profits while killing off the US economy...with $7/gallon gasoline and $8 diesel.
  • Don Eduardo on June 30 2018 said:
    Trump should issue an Executive Order prohibiting the sale of gasoline any price in excess of $2.99 per gallon.
  • Reno Reez on June 30 2018 said:
    Frankly my dear, I dont give a damn. Dont we have this conversation every two years. It got old already.
  • What? on June 30 2018 said:
    Gas prices have been falling for the last couple of weeks where I live. Reached $2.65 before Trump tweeted that the Saudis need to knock it off and is now $2.62.
  • Bill Chinery on June 30 2018 said:
    These are NOT soaring gas prices. They are a full dollar and a half per gallon less than they were at their peak under Obama. Fact is, gas prices rise and fall by a dollar all the time, no matter who is president. So quit with the Trump smear campaign already, you are denigrating yourselves and undercutting your own credibility as journalists by publishing things like this.
  • gordo58 on June 30 2018 said:
    Would congress let the president empty the spr while big oil is still exporting our crude ???
  • das on June 30 2018 said:
    What in the *** does Trump have to do with Gas prices? Idiots! Well I guess that would be a way of thinking for a Marxist since everything is controlled by the government heads of state in there deranged thinking. Last I looked we still are a Republic thought leftist hate that word and supply and demand regulates prices. For 30 years thanks to ENVIRONMENTALIST we have not had a refiner built which hinders supply. DUH!!!
  • Henry Naizer on June 30 2018 said:
    Oil prices are set by "supply and demand" = a free market system, i.e. > one person bidding against another person for a product > NOT some bureaucrat sitting in some government office who professes the political philosophy of Karl Marx.
  • Randy on June 30 2018 said:
    This is my first time on this site/board and oil is a bit out of my field of expertise but I was wondering why I haven't seen Iraq mentioned at all in this equation?
    I have stayed on top of the dynamics within the country of Iraq and know that they are on the verge of becoming an established legitimate nation once again. Iraq has been working w/ the IMF, UN, WTO and the UST to regain an RV of its currency. Intel says that the UST owns north of
    $36 billion IQD. I will not elaborate anymore than that, its very complex but do the critical thinking.
    Iraq already has contracts with over 200 countries to provide infrastructure improvements.
  • Bruce on June 30 2018 said:
    I have read that by December, this year, the price of a single gallon of gasoline will hover around $10. a gallon. Get prepared for a new revolution, folks.
  • Daniel J Shoop on June 30 2018 said:
    Yes, he'll find a way - keep the govt.'s hands off the free market.
  • RD on June 30 2018 said:
    Gasoline price here is $2.45. I filled my truck up a couple of days ago for less than $75. When Obama was president, the pumps cut off a $125 while filling the same truck when the price was nearly $120 a barrel. Wait for it - I'm sure we will hear how it is getting higher because a Republican is in the White House. And the reason cited will be to reward their friends when, actually, the economy just does better when Republicans are in charge of the government.
  • NoExcuse on June 30 2018 said:
    There is no excuse for high gas prices. They are always creating reasons to raise the prices. Greed is a terrible thing. Notice how they barely ever mention the high gas prices. We are only hearing this now after years of being robbed at the pump. Its disgusting.
  • Griefman on June 30 2018 said:
    I don't know where you people are buying gas, but the price of gas is 36 cents lower a gallon
    ofRegular in Maryland, then it was about 30 days ago.
  • Alice on June 30 2018 said:
    No economic recovery with high gas prices. What happened to energy independence? Paying way too much for diesel, .come on Mr. President - fix this.
  • Mike on July 02 2018 said:
    Still damn near half of gas under obama.
  • Jason on July 02 2018 said:
    We can BREAK the LINK between high OIL prices & high GASOLINE prices. HOW? Technology exists to turn America's big surplus of Natural Gas into Gasoline! FAST TRACK the building of Natural Gas into Gasoline REFINERIES here in the U.S.A. These refineries are already designed; the "know how" exists and is ready. Only the willpower of business and government is keeping them from being built.

  • Norm on July 02 2018 said:
    Just filled up yesterday for $2.76 per gallon. Haven't seen the big increase yet in WI. Must have to sell off old stock first or something.
  • Billion003 on July 02 2018 said:
    Can Trump counter soaring gas prices? I suppose he'll try but is the "pain" being felt something that individuals can do something about for themselves? Duh? How much of the pain being felt is by people who when the price of oil was lower bought the largest vehicle they could - for simply driving around town?
    Should I be concerned about the pain of people that continually make irresponsible decisions in this regard?
  • Barry on July 02 2018 said:
    Gee Nick. You're off your game. The day Obama was inaugurated the average price of gas was $1.86/gallon. Check it out, it's real. During his tenure gas regularly got up over $3.00 per gallon. It isn't that now. So if you want to blame a President, blame Obama.
  • racewizard on July 02 2018 said:
    Geez.......oil is traded as a commodity on the world market...we have no 'American' companies, per se....how do you think Saudi Arabia affects the market by increasing production......the strategic reserves is the only oil that is 'ours'......all else goes into the commodities market where the price of oil fluctuates according to speculated levels.....and that code word is 'speculated'........
  • kelly on July 02 2018 said:
    Oil prices get jacked up artificially every 4-5 years. It is easy to track. Prices when Obama was in office were over $112 per barrel before he demanded a fuel efficiency mandate for auto makers. Suddenly prices started dropping well below $40 a barrel. This is a false flag bunch of hoodoo voodoo by banks and investment houses tied in with oil czars who stand to profit by our pain at the pump.
  • Jack Howarth on July 02 2018 said:
    If Trump continues along with his proposed tariff increases against China, the EU and Canada, we should expect a slowing world economy to suppress oil prices. Likewise, if the tariff war with China causes them to tariff US oil, we should have more fracked oil to available for the US market and lower domestic prices.
  • Sardondi on July 02 2018 said:
    Frackers up!
  • Bruce Kramer, M.D. on July 02 2018 said:
    Article laughable considering under Obama gas was for a period of time 3.75 to 4 dollars per gallon...
  • Dawg on July 02 2018 said:
    It is as much about seasonal bottlenecks and refining capacity as the supply of oil itself. This time of year is always vulnerable to price spikes - wait until we see a big Cat 4 in the Gulf - that's when we'll be really hurting. Prices aren't bad if you adjust for inflation, but they are in context that the average person has seen their pay flat for the past generation.
  • joe horn on July 02 2018 said:
    Sorry there goes your crumbs that Nancy Pelosi called tax refunds,the Sodie's know you have more money to spend on gas so like the greedy table cloth wearing perverts that they are, they are getting it,but the thing is,that every time the gas goes up the Economy goes into a recession
    caused by the same one who murdered over 3000 people in the world trade center,the stoled your table cloths and now there stealing your crumbs as Nancy P. called them,,,,,
  • Clyde Boyd on July 02 2018 said:
    Very little of the price is due to supply and demand. Almost all of the increase is due to stock market price manipulation.

    Trump should threaten to flood the country with oil from the SPR or cut off shipping American oil overseas. Both of these moves will destroy the dirtbag oil traders.

    The slimy GOP senators, particularly murkowski guaranteed that shipping American oil overseas would have the effect of lowering prices. Instead, the price of oil has gone up. If it doesnt go down then all american oil needs to stay in the US. And as for the filthy anti american oil traders, they should be required to take physical possession of the commodity before they can sell it. THAT would keep them from speculating—a system where they could actually go bankrupt.
  • Bob on July 02 2018 said:
    What soaring prices?
    Gas is up $0.09/gallon since early spring.
  • Jeffery Dover on July 02 2018 said:
    It is not the job of the president of the United States to regulate pricing of commodities.
  • Darren Davis on July 02 2018 said:
    Trump can't help California, we have Brown to keep our Gas prices high.
  • mark on July 02 2018 said:
    The obummer years had the highest gas prices in American history!! 2011,12,13 and 14 that's a fact Jack!!
  • jim on July 02 2018 said:
    Dunno but around here (NY,NJ) retail gas prices are falling.
  • jabusse on July 02 2018 said:
    What does Trump have to do with Venezuela and the stupid sanctions on Russia? Highest prices in three years. BFD. Prices fluctuate. There are so many people working now in Los Angeles, every hour is rush hour. Maybe the higher prices will get some people off the road. Blaming trump? Is this piling on? It won't work. Sounds like the global warming crowd. It is the hottest since 1932. OMG Did we have global cooling in the interim?
  • Sam Colt on July 02 2018 said:
    The price per gallon here is about 2.39 a gallon.
  • Machismo on July 02 2018 said:
    Open up Shale production to extract more oil, Of Shore Oil wells, more refineries and larger ones. Bring the Saudis to there knees and put them out of the oil business. Have them make widgets or us.
  • Bill Anderson on July 02 2018 said:
    Why should the President get involved with the price of fuel? If the price gets too high people will stop driving until it comes down. The fuel price should match diesel prices - then you will be hit with a whine of epic magnitude.
  • howba on July 02 2018 said:
    Hey, remember when regular gas was over $4 per gallon? When was that?
  • Dan Ros on July 02 2018 said:
    Supply & Demand anyone? This article omits the FACT that gas prices always rise in the summer months, when demand is high. Weird, also, that you ignore the fact that Saudi Arabia has been throttling back gas production to punish US oil producers. Is your article relevant, or a simple political hit piece on Trump?
  • mark green on July 02 2018 said:
    Trump (who I voted for) is causing oil prices to spike by unleashing a new and unnecessary round of sanctions directed at the Republic of Iran. Not only are US companies prohibited from buying Iranian oil, but Trump is now insisting that all US allies do the same!

    Why is Trump (and most of his predecessors) as well as the US Congress determined to bring Iran to its knees?

    Why is superpower America waging a ruthless economic war against Iran?

    Israel want Iran weakened if not destroyed, even though it is Israel--not Iran--that has developed and introduced nuclear WMD into the Middle East.

    It is Israel--not Iran--that has initiated numerous wars (and orchestrated others) since its founding 70 years ago.

    Trump's cruel acts are designed to placate the pro-Israel lobby which many consider the most powerful foreign lobby in existence.
  • Mike Langlinais on July 02 2018 said:
    Im not sure where you guys live, but gasoline prices have been coming down along the Louisiana and Mississippi coastal regions. I live in Bay St. Louis, MS. just passed a major brand gas station - regular was $2.38 a gallon, down from about $2.59 Mayne a month ago. What is the gas tax rate in your state?
  • mdp on July 02 2018 said:
    not really, high gas prices are more the result of our strong dollar (compared to all the weaker currencies) and inflation.
  • Sam Adams on July 02 2018 said:
    I'm no financial guru but it seems that if we have become the top exporter of oil then maybe we should keep some of said oil and use it for ourselves so we're not vulnerable to production and pricing fluctuations from other countries. Might keep the price down?
  • Steve Simons on July 02 2018 said:
    Oil prices go down. Then they go up. Always have. Always will. Releasing oil from the SPR isn't going to change that for more than a few days. More drilling? A few years at most. Wean yourself from oil. It's not anti-American. It's common sense...the kind we used to have as a people. Don't tell me it can't be done. I've done it. I use about 70% less of the stuff than I used to. I live closer to home, I drive less. I have incorporated energy efficient features into my home, I ride a bicycle whenever I can. I do really little things too, like using hedge clippers that don't require gas or oil. They're quieter too. I can hear the music through my ear buds. These are my choices. You can make your own, but stop with the victim mentality. It's really unbecoming. There's a lot you can do...if you want to. If you don't want to, well, that's your choice too.
  • Bill R on July 02 2018 said:
    So much speculation about whether or not President Trump WILL "do something" about gas prices, none at all about whether he SHOULD. If you are an AGW alarmist, you should feel delighted in rising gasoline costs as it will hasten renewables by making them more cost-competitive (like a protectionist tariff). If you are an AGW denier, you are statistically more likely to be a free market proponent so you too should be against intervention. In any event and speaking purely factually, intervention in the market ALWAYS comes at a cost, and that cost usually hits the poor hardest - so if you are a champion of the poor you should be against price intervention.

    In any event there is a logical upper limit on gas prices. Already companies like SwiftFuels can create carbon neutral clean gasoline drop in replacement for gasoline for about $3 per gallon from sawgrass and other "junk vegetation." The Navy has patents on a process to convert seawater into diesel fuel using electricity and off-the-shelf hardware - such a process could be run in the daytime using solar power alone (net CO2 neutral) for a cost based primarily on the cost of the solar power. These are but two of the alternatives already available - and the only reason they aren't the market champions is that they are still a tad more expensive than fossil fuels.

    Every day we are one day closer to the day when solar power plus batteries achieves rough price parity with traditional energy in most parts of the inhabited world. That day currently looks to be around 2025, but rising gas prices will bring it closer.
  • Lee McIntosh on July 02 2018 said:
    First of all, gasoline prices are NOT "soaring." Adjusted for inflation over the past 30 years, gas in this country, gasoline is one of the cheapest commodities in the marketplace. But it also subject to the timeless axiom of Supply & Demand and if the price is too high, then stop using so much of it. Stay home !!! But what about the current price for other high use commodities, like orange juice. A 59oz container at my local supermarket cost $2.74, that's $4.6-cents per oz. Per gallon (128 oz's) that's equal to almost $6.00. And if there is a freeze in Florida or a blight in California that affects the Orange crop, hold on to your wallets. And don't even get me started on what people pay for bottled water !!!

    The American public have no clue what it takes to explore for, lease the land, drill and produce oil welsl, get that oil to market, refine that oil into petroleum products, transport those products to wholesalers and then retailers and lastly into your tank.
  • Harve Firestone on July 02 2018 said:
    Funny, gas prices around where I live are going down.....
  • CV on July 02 2018 said:
    Not sure about the prices that are so outrageous that people are selling their first born. If gas prices destroy your standard of living going up $0.25 a gallon they you have more things to worry about.
  • Forearmed on July 02 2018 said:
    Perhaps everyone is forgetting what was one of the leading factors that led up to the 2008 crash. Yep is was the extremely high gas prices. Only one other economist agreed with me but having lived through it by the skin of my teeth, I know for a fact that those (both arm and a leg) of $5.00 gas prices had a much greater impact of the public than the state or oil companies wanted to admit.

    When home owners who were sitting on what were their Toxic Loans were hit with such high gas prices along with an increase in the interest rates on those loans, many home owners just stopped paying their home loans, because they realized it would take much more to evict them from their homes than it would take to find another job if they could no longer afford fuel for their cars to get to work.

    The combination of the two, (The double whammy) was the start of failed loan policies which generated those toxic loans, thus the home owners just stop paying on those loans which made the Tranches put together by the mortgage industry become transparent because their supposed AAA rating was divulged as being phony and thus the quick slide of the value of those loans. THE CRASH AT THAT POINT WAS INEVITABLE !@!
  • Ann on July 02 2018 said:
    It's not like I haven't seen these prices before under other administrations. I remember $.25 a gallon in the '60s.
  • Jersey Prophet on July 02 2018 said:
    Just like homelessness and hurricane tragedies, gasoline price spikes are always the fault of GOP presidents.

    These crises simply don't happen when Dems are president. Not a whisper of blame assigned to obama from the media about the fact that oil peaked over $90/bbl and gasoline sold over $4.00/gal in many places during his regime. Then, it was the fault of greedy GOP business oligarchs.
  • BobW on July 02 2018 said:
    Maybe it's just me. But I don't remember anyone putting high gas prices "on" Obama; even when they were quite higher than today.

    I wonder why?
  • SG on July 02 2018 said:
    I am guessing the easiest way to control the gas prices is to lift sanctions from gas producing nations.
  • warren ostroff on July 02 2018 said:
    We have enough oil right here to last for many decades. Why aren't we drilling, Mr. Trump?
  • sgtwal on July 02 2018 said:
    What's the beef? it was hitting around $4.00 a gallon around here just a few years back. Where were all the worry warts back then?
  • Bill Jefferson on July 02 2018 said:
    We've had just about enough of parasite politicians flailing about trying to "fix" things.
    The market will sort this out as it always does by adjusting price to demand.
  • Joe on July 02 2018 said:
    Obama tried for $8/12.00 per gallon and failed. He failed everything.
  • Frank Detrixhe on July 02 2018 said:
    Just think what it would be if obama was in office.
  • Rockinroadie on July 02 2018 said:
    Gas prices haven’t been this high since most of Obama’s presidency!
  • Jerrell Strawn on July 02 2018 said:
    Soaring? Gas is $2.41 in Mississippi.
  • Mark David on July 02 2018 said:
    Sell oil produced in the USA at a reduced price to Americans, and at the inflated price to the rest of the world. They will get the message very quickly.
  • Fredrick S Arnold on July 02 2018 said:
    Congress recently (quietly) rescinded the 43 yr old BAN on US selling of oil in the world markets..this allows US corps [Big Oil] to sell oil at WORLD prices..even tho the USA is STILL a net IMPORTER of oil..there4 gas prices will go UP. FWIW
  • Fedupwithpolitiians on July 02 2018 said:
    It's time for the world to understand that oil is a renewable resource. And price it according. Stop accepting the lies.
  • JD on July 02 2018 said:
    Its dropped two weeks in a row around here its 2.67. What soaring gas prices. When minimum was 3.25 gas was a buck. As much as I like uber cheap gas. Its not near 4 like it has been in past and its well below inflation
  • jim on July 02 2018 said:
    Gas prices are NOT up at stations around me except for the pre holiday price hike as expected by a few stations.
    No, gas prices are $2.54/ gallon at a few stations and under $2.60/ gal at a LOT of stations.

    is the media trying to spike prices with stories like this ?
  • Tmank on July 02 2018 said:
    No American President has ever been so powerful as to "corner" a market or significantly in the long term affect the oil market. The global market is too big for that. Barring any short term effects this is a non issue in relation to any world leader.
  • Denver on July 02 2018 said:
    live the marketplace alone. all humans can do is make situations worse, not better.
  • Mitch R on July 02 2018 said:
    Here in Commiefornia gas prices never really went down so now that they are going up it doesn't hurt quite so bad. Not sure which way I like getting bent over, blindfolded or being forced to look them in the eyes.
  • Mark Richardson on July 02 2018 said:
    Yeah, He can, and he will.
  • Mike Hambuchen on July 02 2018 said:
    Obama wanted $8 a gallon gasoline, but he would have done it like putting a frog in a pot of water and slowly raised the temperature to a boil. His administration did what it could to destabilize the Middle East and the world in that effort but neither he nor his energy czar could get gas prices up there. He did what he could to prevent American companies from developing oil fields, using fracking, and building the oil pipeline from Canada. He is a traitor.
  • Ben Badgley on July 03 2018 said:
    Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
    International Oil Economist
    Visiting Professor of Energy Economics at ESCP Europe Business School, London

    Dir sir,

    Might you please posit the definition of an economist in lay terminology, as you do so comprehend it? Thank you in advance. How you define it will assist me to better comprehend your opinion, thoughts, commentary here.

    I am basing discernment so far upon a definition put forward by, I.
    B. Tucker, III, _"Survey of Economics"_, West Publishing Co., 1995. Unaware of how you define an economist, or if you're aware of that definition. I hope to not infer or posit disrespect, offense but rather to hopefully converse a trite bit. Often enjoy such conversation on equal footing, definitions can help locate that.
  • CARL on July 03 2018 said:

    Gas was much higher early in Obama's 1st term, and stayed there for 4 years until us frackers/us entrepreneurs added capacity.

    But don't expect MSM to print THAT!
  • BKMart on July 03 2018 said:
    The gas prices are doing exactly what the leftists want them to do, continue to climb...
  • Leone on July 03 2018 said:
    Oh, stop it...Just stop it...I filled my tank just yesterday for $2.56 a gallon...But I've paid as much as 4 bucks a gallon just a few years ago...This is a totally manufactured crisis.

    Trump isn't responsible for the price of gasoline in America...It's not his problem...You want cheaper gas? Use less of it...Drive less...Take the bus...Car pool...Ride a bike...Take a walk.

    And just watch the price come tumbling down....Bet on it.
  • scott on July 03 2018 said:
    doesnt increased production mean moe supply and dropping prices? I bet farmers wish they could play this scam. we havent had a fake coffee manipulation in about 20 years or a sugar manipulation. He greedy soeculation fools are at it again
  • abel garcia on July 03 2018 said:
    I paid close to $/gallon under Obama.
  • MP on July 03 2018 said:
    The blame big oil narrative is so tired.

    The same people yapping about big oil, are having Amazon deliveries daily. Guess what that uses, a whole lot of distillate, which unlike gasoline is in very short supply. ICE have become far more efficient, in part because of CAFE standards, but at the same time average HP per vehicle keeps climbing. If we were content with the HP of cars 20 years ago, we'd be consuming far less gasoline.

    Venezuela's oil production has fallen off a cliff, a warning to all of those that think socializing oil production is the better alternative. While fracking is imperfect, the view that it's tainted huge amounts of water supply is simply not based in fact. The problems are few and far between and the water table and oil are at very different depths. Yes, we need to make sure it doesn't become a problem, but it isn't at present. Fracking has also unlocked a huge amount of cheap natural gas, which has displaced coal electrical generation, and saved an enormous amount of CO2.

    The world is transitioning from oversupply to undersupply. The Iranian policy will make this worse. While Saudi et al will fill some of the gap, that removes spare capacity from the market. That lack of spare capacity creates meaningful upside risk in the event of more outages. Unplanned outages have been exceptionally low, but we have precedent for Libya/Iran. Take a look at the chart in the STEO.

    We shouldn't be surprised at an SPR release and the obligatory self-aggrandizing tweet. In the 2H of 2019 the Permian will have much more takeaway capacity and we can produce our way out. Until then, we're headed higher.

  • Larry Fyne on July 03 2018 said:
    Any time an entity has a monopoly they can charge whatever they want. Anyone with a smidgen of sense knows these corporate criminals engineer shortages by various means. We're stuck. You DO have the choice not to buy from them.
  • Paul Roberts on July 03 2018 said:
    The cost of gas in Texas has been on a steady decrease in Texas for the last 30 days. Paid 2.59 this morning for no lead. and that's down 10 cents from a month ago.
  • CashMcCall on July 03 2018 said:
    Releasing strategic reserves just harms Shale oil. Trump discovered this earlier this year when he went for the low hanging political fruit when Saudi and Russia were reducing production. It had no effect on the global price of oil. Trump knows very little about oil or much else. My view is his understanding of the Economy is essentially unschooled and childlike.

    Oil is no longer attached to supply and demand. Goldman and JP Morgan are the largest buyers of oil futures dwarfing producers and end users. These two quasi-banks never take delivery. In every recession, oil rises before the recession. Because of the geopolitical tensions caused by Trump over Iran and with trade tariffs, the dollar has skyrocketed shutting off US exports and creating a dollar liquidity shortage in the commodities space. Oil is a hedge against the dollar.

    Further, when one launches Tariffs, that causes all other currencies to automatically devalue without actually devaluing. Thus most emerging market currencies are at multi year lows and the Yuan has dropped 6% which is roughly the average of all other currencies.

    Oil is going higher... Why? China has pushed counter tariffs against US Shale. They are the largest buyer of Shale. This will shutdown Shale just like the Trump Tariffs have destroyed US Farmers with Soy, Hog and Orange Juice counter tariffs. Once shale is off the market, that ends the arbitrage and oil goes up.

    Trump has caused all this mayhem and doesn't really seem to have any idea what he is doing or where he is going. One thing is certain, any release of strategic reserves will have zero effect on the price of oil but will shut down Shale rapidly. Saudi would love that.

    As for Iranian oil, China is willing to buy it all and a new rail line has been set up by China to handle delivery and there are talks for a pipeline. Russia now has two pipelines directly to China. China captured 12% of the global oil markets in two months with the launch of their Gold Backed Yuan oil futures contracts. Trump is simply not on the same mental page as Russia, Saudi, or China. His actions with Tariffs are extremely dangerous to the US Economy. It appears to be a nearly identical pattern as followed Smoot Hawley. Trump is living in some kind of alternate universe and hegemony is a real risk to the USA dollar reserve for the first time since 1945.
  • Bill Wolfe on July 03 2018 said:
    The US automakers don't want to make cars for domestic use anymore, just oversized trucks, sport utilities and crossovers with horrible mileage. They make better profits. If you want a decent sedan you have to buy Japanese of Korean product. Just like the 70's, but back then it was 3 ton Caddies with 500cid motors.History repeats.
  • Tom Blazek on July 05 2018 said:
    Ethanol currently sells for 70 cents per gallon LESS than gasoline. Yet EPA won't let us use E-15 from June 1 through September 15 each year, even though E-15 has a LOWER Vapor pressure than E-10, which E-15 basically replaces.

    E-15 sells for a lower price, has a higher octane value and is a cleaner burning fuel than E-10. Scott Pruitt's EPA is NOT interested in Cleaner Air, or Lower Priced, Higher Octane Fuel. Scott Pruitt's EPA only seems interested in protecting the Oil Company Monopoly in the fuel market.

    If you really want lower priced higher octane fuel, unleash 113 Octane Ethanol, and we will all be better off.
  • AL on July 09 2018 said:
    To the commenters that say "just release SPR and build more refineries":
    Do you have any clue how long it takes to build a refinery? 1 year? 2 years? NO try 5 to 7 years at a cost of tens of billions of dollars to build and operate. And you expect FOR PROFIT companies to do this just to lower prices so they can make less money? Does anyone know what the economic landscape will be in 5 years? Of course not. So who in their right mind would take such a gamble? Clearly anyone that really believes in building more refineries as an answer hasn't ever owned their own business or traveled to a foreign country.
    And the SPR is just that. Strategic. What part of Trump's logic is strategic. Releasing SPR on a whim (without a true crisis) is idiotic.
    Here's an idea: How about not bullying countries like Iran and China, interfering with sovereign nations' politics, war mongering and instead try being diplomatic for once?
  • Patrick Thompson on April 21 2019 said:
    Why would he even want to?
    The fossil fuel industry is the biggest backers of republicans who seem to live to cut their taxes and deregulate.

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