The Causes and Effects of High Oil Prices

This page is a spinoff from The Causes and Effects of High Gas Prices.  The focus of this page is intended to be the supply and demand forces at work on crude oil, in today's worldwide market.  Crude oil is refined into many products other than gasoline, and when unrefined oil is spilled, interrupted, traded as a commodity or shipped, it is always in huge quantities with lots of money at stake.

The oil market is seeing lots of demand from places like China and India, and faces interference from political forces in oil-rich countries, like the civil unrest in Venezuela, war in the Middle East, political instability in Nigeria, and the problem of too few refineries in the U.S. -- which is largely the result of environmental regulations.

There have been no new refineries built in the U.S. since 1976 because of the "environmental impact" red tape that must be overcome before construction can even begin.  Sometimes I hear people say that the oil companies are hoarding gas to drive up the price, but the more gas they sell, the more money they make.  Obviously the oil companies would gladly build more refineries, if they could, because that would bring more of their products to the market.

Lobbyists on the political left oppose oil exploration in the Gulf of Mexico and in parts of Alaska, even though ANWR is floating on 16 billion barrels of recoverable oil.

Many people are disgusted by the sight and the smell of refineries.  (Have you ever been to Port Arthur, Texas, or Hobbs, New Mexico?  Pheweee!)  Some are frightened by gas wells, pumps and pipelines near their neighborhoods, but petroleum doesn't just appear out of nowhere.  It has to be refined somewhere and delivered somehow.

Conservation is a good thing, but conservation is not an energy source.  The only way to lower the price of oil (hence gasoline) is to increase production.

This is an original compilation, Copyright © 2020 by Andrew K. Dart

Select from the following sub-topics:

Oil and Politics
The Congress and the White House are obstructing the flow of oil
How to lower gas prices:  Produce more oil!
Everything but oil is subsidized
Big Oil:  Hero or Villain?
"Windfall profit" taxes
The Keystone XL pipeline

Offshore oil drilling
The Deepwater Horizon oil spill

OPEC and other external influences on the price of oil
Terrorism, accidents, and military intervention drive up the price

There is no shortage of oil
The United States has plenty of oil
Alaska is floating on oil
      ...especially in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
The world is not running out of oil

Past, Present and Future Oil Prices
Day-to-day price jumps
Predictions for future oil price trends

Petroleum Sub-Topics
Oil sands, oil shale, and other unconventional petroleum sources
Oil is out there, but in difficult places
Oil in or near the Arctic Circle
Positive and negative effects of oil price fluctuations
Supply and demand
Broader energy issues

Other related topics:
The Causes and Effects of High Gas Prices
Natural gas production through the hydraulic fracturing of shale
Ethanol is not such a great idea
Environmentalists Oppose Every Practical Source of Energy
Environmental False Alarms about Oil and Gas
Lies about energy production

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Updated March 21, 2020.

©2020 by Andrew K. Dart