Americans started the week with a rude awakening — crude oil prices are up $3.80, or 3.8 percent, to $102.63 per barrel in New York today, according to the Associated Press. But despite the jump in oil prices, President Barack Obama is still sitting on his hands when it comes to exploring domestic energy resources.
Prices climbed as soon as exchanges opened for the first day of 2012 trading. Commodity prices tend to rise at the beginning of January as investors start the new year with a fresh round of trading. This year prices were driven by heightened concerns that Iran might try to close the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf to oil tankers, if Western nations impose new sanctions.
What do higher oil prices mean for Americans? Higher gas prices, of course. And they’re already likely to go higher, with or without an energy crisis caused by a bellicose Iran. Greg Laskoski of gasbuddy.com told Fox 13 in Tampa that based on the trends over the past five years, prices in the summer are typically about 93 cents higher by the spring and summer. Given today’s average gas price of $3.28 per gallon, that means that Americans could see gas prices topping out well above $4 per gallon.
Meanwhile, what’s President Obama doing to bring energy prices down and help the United States be less dependent on the Middle East for oil? Unfortunately, very little. The President postponed a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline, which would transport 700,000 barrels of oil per day from Canada to refineries in Texas, has blocked access to shale resources, and slowed down and even halted offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, which supplies 30 percent of domestic oil production. And the Environmental Protection Agency is imposing new, costly regulations on energy production.
With Iran threatening to close the Strait of Hormuz–and one quarter of the world’s energy supply with it–there is no time like the present to safely explore America’s domestic energy resources before energy prices soar even higher.