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Rise in Oil Price Matched by Rise in Finger Pointing

July 07, 2008 08:00 AM
by Christopher Coats
As oil prices hit an all-time high, critics and pols look for someone to blame.

30-Second Summary

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With oil reaching $145 per barrel just before the Fourth of July weekend, political leaders from Washington to Moscow are looking for a way to explain how prices have risen so steeply in recent months.

A number of bills recently introduced in Congress have pointed to the role of speculators and market traders, though those accused are just as quick to accuse political leaders of not fully understanding how the energy market functions.

The New York Times reports that whoever is to blame for the current crisis, the rise in oil prices could have been avoided; the article suggests that most of the responsibility lies with Congressional inaction and the powerful influence of the automaking industry.

“Much of what we’re seeing today could have been prevented or ameliorated had we chosen to act differently,” says Pete V. Domenici, a Republican member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. “It was a bipartisan failure to act.”

Currently, Congress is responding to the oil price hike by going after oil speculators; some argue that doing so will do nothing to solve the problem, and may even exacerbate it.

Headline Links: Who's to Blame for the Oil Price Hike?

Background Links: High Oil Prices, High Demand, High Concern

Opinion & Analysis: Don't Reduce Speculation; Reduce Oil Dependence

Reference Material: Fuel Price Statistics

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