Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Oil prices rose above $130 a barrel Wednesday for the first time, as supply concerns mounted and the value of the U.S. dollar weakened. Light, sweet crude reached a trading record of $130.47 a barrel in electronic trade on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The average national price of a gallon of regular gas rose 0.7 cent overnight to a record $3.807 a gallon.
On October 2, 2002, the day the U.S. Congress (yeah, that mean you, Hillary Clinton) voted to give George W. Bush the authority to go to war with Iraq, light, sweet crude was $24 a barrel. How’s that war vote working out for you now, Mrs. Clinton?
Meanwhile, American Airlines, the nation’s largest carrier, said Wednesday it would start cutting domestic flights and begin to lay off workers as it grapples with record-high fuel prices. American plans to cut domestic flight capacity by 11 percent to 12 percent in the fourth quarter.
Nationally, school districts are raising fees to cover the cost of fuel for school buses. Some schools are cutting back and eliminating field trips altogether due to the rising costs of gasoline. At Burton Elementary in Durham, NC, the annual field trip to a local pumpkin farm is no more.
The World Bank’s index of food prices increases by 140 percent from January 2002 to the beginning of 2008, and a full 75 percent just since September 2006 thanks to the explosion in petroleum prices and subsidies to ethanol.
Which takes us back to the hapless George W. Bush administration. Recently, Bush traveled to Israel and then Saudi Arabia where he begged his old family friend, Prince Abdullah to increase oil production. Bush was promptly rebuffed by the Prince. So it would appear that in the final months of Bush’s time in office, Americans can expect absolutely no leadership from his administration vis a vis high gas prices. For George W. Bush, it’s just a matter of running out the clock until her can go home to Crawford (or Paraguay?) and hand off the energy mess to Barack Obama to deal with.