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As one of the country’s worst environmental catastrophes unfolds on his watch, President Barack Obama is under increasing pressure from lawmakers and residents of the fouled Gulf coast to take over the oil disaster response.
The word at the White House is that Obama is frustrated at the delays BP has encountered in stopping the leak. “Plug the damn hole,” he has told senior government officials.
The most immediate concern is stopping the leak. The problem for the White House is that it has no real alternative except to rely on BP’s technology and expertise to do it.
That means Obama is forced into an uneasy alliance with BP — outraged that the leak took place but hopeful that the energy giant can stop it.
“Drill baby, drill” was an enduring rally cry from Republicans in the 2008 presidential election. This past March, President Obama unveiled plans for a limited expansion of offshore oil drilling, in part to try to win GOP support for climate change legislation.
Then an undersea oil well ruptured in the Gulf of Mexico.
The oil spill that is threatening the coast of Louisiana has provided ammunition to critics of Obama’s proposal, and the White House sought to make clear there would be no new drilling authorized until the cause of the spill had been reviewed.
from Global Investing:
Oxford SWF Project, a university think tank on sovereign wealth funds, is looking at reports that the latest entry in the field could be Scotland. The project has a new post about the Scottish government floating the idea of an oil stabilisation fund to use oil and gas revenues. It cites Scottish cabinet secretary for finance John Swinney looking abroad gleefully:
“We want to harness the benefit of oil revenues now for future years. An oil fund can provide greater stability, protect our economy and support the transition to a low carbon economy. Norway’s oil fund is worth over £200 billion – despite the first instalment being made as recently as the mid 1990s – and Alaska’s oil fund even gives money back to its citizens every year.”
The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries agreed on Wednesday to make its deepest output cut ever to counter slumping demand and falling oil prices. The output cut has been received with cautious optimism by analysts.
Some say that the price of oil will fall further, while others say $40 a barrel was the lowest it will go. “If you look at the market, prices are going up immediately,” said Frank Schallenberger, head of commodity research at Landesbank. “I really think this is the end of a bear market. $40 was the bottom.”
With oil plunging to record lows, and the average retail price for gas sinking to less than $2, will Americans rekindle their love affair with trucks and SUVs?
Falling gasoline prices are putting extra money in the pockets of consumers, but there is also some concern that drivers may return to their gas-guzzling vehicles.
Are you taking advantage of cheaper gas prices? Could this be the second coming of gas-guzzling vehicles, or is this simply a brief reprieve? Share you cheap gas strategies.
It’s become a truism that Americans are driving less due to high fuel prices. Here are five signs that signal a decline in demand:
1. Drop in volume: The fall in U.S. oil demand in the first half of 2008 was the biggest in 26 years, according to the EIA.
Most would agree that the days of stress-free air travel are over. As the airline industry grapples with unprecedented oil prices that have almost doubled in the past year, carriers are now eking out profits any way they can, including adding fuel surcharges, cutting back services and eliminating flights.
The moves have left passengers complaining about cramped, crowded and frequently delayed flights, and worse.
Times are tough for Americans as their wallets take multiple blows from the housing slump, rising oil and food prices, growing unemployment, inflation fears and recession talk. Many homeowners are facing negative equity, with mortgages bigger than their property’s value.
Even as recently as November, households were going into debt to maintain spending, but new numbers show that Americans are saving at the highest rate since March 1995.
President Bush is urging Congress to end a decades-old ban on offshore oil drilling in response to consumer anxiety over record-high gas prices.
“Every American who drives to work, purchases food or ships a product has felt the effect. And families across our country are looking to Washington for a response,” Bush said.
Americans in dire need of a break are canceling their vacation plans — from air travel to road trips — because of soaring fuel prices.