Oil prices hit $100 per barrel for the first time. This could be a blessing if it finally forces us to drive more fuel-efficient cars and invest in new technologies, said David Fleischaker in The Washington Post. Try telling that to consumers if rising en
Crude oil futures hit $100 a barrel for the first time on Wednesday as U.S. inventories rose and violence in oil-rich Nigeria stoked fears of a drop in production. The news fed fears that the economy would buckle under the combined strain of high energy prices and the subprime mortgage crisis. (Sacramento Bee)
What the commentators said
Hundred-dollar oil may be “hard to stomach,” said David Fleischaker, Oklahoma’s energy secretary, in The Washington Post (free registration), “but it’s good for us.” It will force us to develop more fuel-efficient vehicles and encourage investors to bankroll new technologies and energy infrastructure, reducing our dependence on foreign oil and reducing the growth of greenhouse gas emissions in the bargain.
Try telling that to consumers if high oil prices push the country into a recession, said Moira Herbst in BusinessWeek.com. That’s just what could happen if higher heating oil and gasoline prices force Americans to tighten spending on other things. “If the Federal Reserve continues to cut interest rates and accommodate high oil prices, inflation will ensue” and a recession won’t be far behind.
Perhaps, said the Los Angeles Times in an editorial (free registration), but $100-a-barrel oil “doesn't necessarily portend a return to Carter-era doldrums.” Rising oil prices have pushed the price of gas from $2.20 a gallon to $3 in the last year, and $4 is “looking increasingly possible.” But so far the effect has been relatively modest as inflation remained low, and Americans eased the pain by parking their SUVs and using smaller cars.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
MOST POPULAR ON THE WEEK
- Why you should stop believing in evolution
- 7 of the scariest spiders in existence
- Why isn't 'Arkansas' pronounced like 'Kansas'?
- 4 things NASA can teach you about a good night's sleep
- The secret to handling pressure like astronauts, Navy SEALs, and samurai
- How Israel's hawks intimidated and silenced the last remnants of the anti-war left
- Internet piracy isn't killing Hollywood
- It's time for the police to rethink 'shoot-to-kill'
- This 1,600-year-old Viking war game is still awesome
- Welcome to the age of ambivalent feminism
Subscribe to the Week