Gas prices across the country are shooting up. In Bay Area cities, prices have passed the $4 mark and may keep climbing as investors watch escalating tensions between Iran and Israel. At the same time, there is optimism that the global economy may be improving, driving oil demand up. We discuss all the factors, and what the high prices mean for the economy and your wallet.

Jay McKeeman, vice president of government relations for the California Independent Oil Marketers Association, which represents gas station owners
Michael Levi, senior fellow for energy and the environment at the Council on Foreign Relations
Catherine Reheis-Boyd, president of the Western States Petroleum Association
Judy Dugan, research director for Consumer Watchdog

  • Mike

    Great topic. I would love to hear the guests comment on the broader long term context of sustainability – peak oil, gas tax for green alternatives, Manhattan project for clean energy, etc. My opinion is that it is sad how many people forget that gas prices were near $5 in 2008 and we didn’t take a harder look then at long term solutions. How much money would we save by not having oil wars, for example?

  • Hipparchus

    What caused the high prices?
    It’s mainly the Pentagon’s and Neoconservatives’ leaked plan to overthrow a string of Middle-Eastern countries and replace them with fake, puppet democracies, which has resulted in the instability we see today and from that gasoline prices have skyrocketed.

    Glenn Greenwald quotes Wesley Clark, who quoted a Pentagon official speaking of the lunatics’ plan
    “to destroy the governments in 7 countries in five years – we’re
    going to start with Iraq, and then we’re going to move to Syria,
    Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Iran.”

  • olive

    A news report on gas prices on ABC News with Diane Sawyer on Monday night was simple, biased, uninformative, short sighted. One of the reporter’s points was to avoid buying gas near the freeway where it is more expensive. Really?  Is that point worth the air time? And is that the depth of discussion by some in the media on a topic that encompasses climate change, national security, pollution, export/import imbalances, and relations with not-so-nice countries that produce oil (Iran) etc. And why don’t these reports point a finger (slightly or directly) at American’s consumption habits? We’re the ones consuming. FOCUS on this: What role has each of your guests played recently to create, support, or define a LONG TERM energy policy?

  • olive

    Follow up to first question.  And if your guests haven’t recently helped create, support, or define a LONG TERM energy policy.  WHY haven’t they?

  • John Tweed

    Perhaps you could also mention how, over the past years, European car drivers have effectively been subsidising cheap US gas prices.  If Europe had chosen the same gas guzzler tax pocilies as the US demand for gas would be much higher, and everyone would be paying much more than the so called high $4 a gallon. (Except it would still be cheaper in Europe).

  • Alan Pufahl

    What about oil EXPORTS from the United States?

  • Guest

    Isn’t high gas prices a good thing?  It can help reduce consumption and lower our carbon footprint.  After all in Europe gas prices are much higher and those economies are doing okay.

    • Fred

      There are really bad people out there who own petroleum companies who profit from high prices, regardless of where demand is.

  • Fred

    What about the research from Sweden that it’s geologic processes, not ancient plants, that result in petroleum? Such abiogenic oil may really exist, but of course the power structure that rules the world would be against such an interpretation.

  • It still puzzles me as to why there’s no push for more diesel cars here in CA/USA. Go to Europe and not only are cars generally smaller, but in my estimation 70% of all cars are diesel. They can get anywhere upwards of 40% better mileage. Yet whenever I see a new car I’d like (that is available with a diesel option in Europe) I can’t get it with a diesel engine here.

  • And on the subject of diesel – why is it (at least here in CA) consistently more expensive that regular gas? My understanding is that diesel fuel is an easier distillate from crude oil. Diesel is used for the majority of goods transportation (trucks, trains and [as Jet-A] aviation). So, given that huge volume of production – why consistently 10-20c more per gallon? 

  • gregory slater

    The ‘DIane Sawyer Effect’ – Mindless, power-subserviant media fear mongers amplify the bogus war rhetoric of Obama and Israel.  How many times over the last 5-10 years has the media (including Krasny) ‘speculated’ about the likelihood of The U.S. or Israel or both whacking Iran preemptively for committing the crime of disobedience to their will?  Are Krasny et al dutifully serving the oil speculators by amplifying this terror talk?

    • Fred

      The banksters and oil companies own the media.
      Interlocking directorships establish the corporations in America as one big cartel.

  • Bodymindmagic

    RRecord profits for oil companies ina recession!!! Every person on there is dodging this fact. It had nothing to do with supply . how can they be making more profit when every one is taking pay cuts . please stop this propaganda from your guests

  • Wiserguyone

    It appears to me this fuel price inflation was initiated with the blessing of the Bush Administration, concurrent with the “secret” meeting Dick Cheney arranged with the oil companies at the White House.  Subsequent to this meeting, the President gave his “addicted to oil” speech and the oil industry began a PR campaign touting their newfound interest in renewable energy, rebranding themselves “Energy Companies.” 
    Before anyone gets their dander up over this assertion, let’s look at the benefits behind the alleged deed.  Our goal of switching from fossil fuels to renewable energy has maintained a high level of national support.  Achieving price parity between alternative energy and fossil fuels is vital to the objective of energy transformation, as well as to our national security. 
    The most expedient method to achieve this objective is to unilaterally raise the price of fuel at the pump; in this way you move fossil fuel towards parity with the emerging alternative energy technologies quickly, while at the same time amassing the capital necessary to invest in the new technologies. 

  • Alan

    Let’s face it, all of your guests are speculating on the reasons for price increases in gasoline, no one really knows why the price is going up.  This certainly could be due to a couple of reasons, either we simply have no idea, or the prices are being manipulated for the benefit and profiteering of those that hold interests in oil – the oil companies themselves or others with financial interests in oil.  As a consumer, we simply have no power or leverage to effect the responsible pricing of oil, other than government representation vis-a-vis gas mileage targets or subsidies to oil companies.  What we do see is that all of a sudden as the government requirements for increased mileage goes up, and as new cars with greater gas mileage are being introduced, the price of gas goes up, all but guaranteeing a win/loss scenario for the oil business and the consumer.  It is certainly reasonable to expect that profiteers will cheer any reason for the price rise, and can always hide behind those reasons.  Speculation is legal, if not in the best interests or our country or each of us as citizens and consumers.  If I could give up the use of gasoline and no longer drive a vehicle, I’d happily let the speculators go broke.

  • Livegreen

    Speculators are the ones who profit from ups & downs in the market.  Customers, be they consumers or companies, profit from stable prices.  This is true for ANY commodity.  

    Added that there has been a dramatic increase in commodity investment in the last decade, speculation is the tipping point that is making the cost of gas & other commodities from corn to cotton sky rocket.

    Commodities and commodity futures should only be traded by the producers, customers and those who represent them.  Not speculators.

  • Fred

    Speculation resulted in the Dot Com bubble.
    Speculation resulted in much of the housing bubble.
    Speculation resulted in much of the fuel bubble.
    Speculation would have destroyed Hollywood, but luckily that was stopped by Congress.
    The president is in the pocket of the bankster speculators and joyfully so.

  • Larry Loeffler

    If you added all the costs that it takes for a gallon of gas to get to the pump , we should be paying $10.00 a gallon . But wait our tax dollars are paying that already , by having the US Navy escort the tankers in the gulf.

  • Daniel

    How will the severe drop in retail gas deliveries over the past few years impact this? Are limited supply and even higher prices in our future?


  • Sprague

    When living in Europe for many years, I noticed much less gasoline price fluctuations at the same time that prices were going up and down in the U.S.  It seems to me that the higher gas taxes in Europe help to maintain a relatively stable price at the pump.  Not only do Europeans tax a finite resource more responsibly, it appears that their consumers and their economies are less vulnerable to market fluctuations.

  • Joe

    Please ask Jay McKeeman why JP Morgan owns a supertanker off the coast of Malta, and if that affects the price of gasoline.  

  • Mike

    In the past diesel was less expensive that gasoline. Why does it cost more than regular now?

  • Ken

    Is this a live show. Every time the price of gas goes up, Forum has this program with different voices but the same old story. And the end of March the oil companies shareholders and executives will laugh all the way to the bank, in the Cayman Islands.

  • Jack

    What we are experiencing is what is knowing and the “bumpy plateau” of oil price volatility due to the fact that we are beyond the 50% mark of world oil supplies.  There is no swing producer anymore to fill in for shortages, Saudi Arabia does not have any spare capacity, this is a well known fact and was leaked in a memo not too long ago by the State Department wikileaks.  Oil consumption rates are rising, and production rates are at best are flat to declining.  Market dynamics are not going to solve this problem because we have based too much of our economy on oil and there’s no way we are going to have a smooth transition to a alternative energy economy in a few years.  This project should have been started 20 years ago.  Expect $120 to $150 gas in a year or two.  This isn’t going away.

  • Laura

    Bottom line, get big money out of politics, get serious about alternative energy sources.

  • Skid M.

    I drive about ten miles a week, because I commute mostly with public transportation or walk to where I want. I honestly don’t pay any attention to the cost of gasoline. Why not discuss abstinence from our precious cars, instead?

  • Joe

    Cities here weren’t built around drinking orange juice every day.  Our culture and way of life revolves around the automobile and the gasoline to fuel it.

    The comparison of gasoline to orange juice is not apt whatsoever.

  • Pj

    Does it make sense that the US demand for refined gasoline is down, we are exporting gasoline, but our prices have gone up 50 cents in the last few weeks?  The market forces are not all at work here.  Something is wrongfully manipulating the markets to their own gain.  Americans, as usual, are getting hosed.

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