Sunday, March 2, 2008

OPEC Staying the Course

OPEC announced today that they have no immediate plans to increase oil production despite pressures from rising fuel costs (no doubt largely coming from the United States). Keeping the status quo is actually closer to good news than bad, as in February, OPEC had suggested scaling back production during the post-winter, pre-summer months, when oil prices usually fall due to lowered demand. Naturally following this announcement, oil prices rose to an all-time high. A linked article goes on to talk about how rising oil prices has increased US food costs, creating doubly hard times for people.

I was a little taken aback at the "plight" of Kenny Khan used in the second article, where he has been forced to change his weekly 100 mi. drive to visit his sister to a monthly one. It feels that although the media espouses the need to reduce extraneous fuel consumption, it takes a decidedly different take when it's actually forced to happen. What I saw as a good thing in terms of lessening excess waste, CNN used as a sympathy story.

I also took exception to the following paragraph from the same article:

"The high cost of gas is helping fuel a surge in food prices. Higher transportation expenses, along with growing demand for agricultural exports from the United States and increasing need for corn-based ethanol for gas supplies, has sent commodity costs soaring."

I've yet to see, especially in light of what we've learned in Dr. Webber's class, a valid justification for an "increasing need for corn-based ethanol for gas supplies." Yet it sure is easy to sneak that comment in there when you mix in the woe-is-me stories of the rising cost of petroleum.

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