Jeff Chiu/AP
A woman walks past the price board at a Shell gas station in San Mateo, Calif., Tuesday,
June 10, 2008. (AP)

As Energy Prices Soar, World Leaders Meet in Saudi Arabia

June 20, 2008 06:59 AM
by Josh Katz
Oil-producing nations meet Sunday in Saudi Arabia to discuss pricing, responding to requests from around the world that something must be done to curb inordinate oil prices.

30-Second Summary

Tension over oil prices appears to be reaching the boiling point. Oil-consuming nations have been calling for OPEC to increase oil production for some time, and now Saudi Arabia has indicated that it will probably do so.

Saudi Arabia called the Jeddah meeting
to discuss how to handle the 40-percent increase in oil prices that has occurred in 2008. Gas is now pushing past $4 a gallon in the United States, and that number is higher in Europe thanks to lofty gas taxes.

Recently, presidential candidate John McCain said that the ban on offshore drilling should be lifted to alleviate the energy crisis. President Bush announced his support for the same idea on June 19, saying, “there is no excuse for delay.”

Many Democrats have opposed the idea of offshore drilling, calling it a temporary solution that will not solve the energy crisis in the long term. They have sought investments in alternative sources of energy, and on June 17 Senate Democrats targeted OPEC and said the United States should file a complaint against it.

The issue of suing OPEC for monopolistic practices and price fixing has received attention lately, and The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times both published op-eds on June 19 with the same title: “Sue OPEC.” Both pieces argued that the United States could and should sue OPEC under antitrust laws for keeping prices so high.

But Mark Thoma, in the Economist’s View blog, contends that suing OPEC would serve only as a band-aid for the energy crisis.

Headline Link: ‘In Saudi Oil Output Discussions, The Old Clout Will Be Missing’

Background: ‘Energy Fears Send Dems, GOP In Opposite Directions’

Opinion & Analysis: Suing OPEC

Suing OPEC not the answer

Related Topics: The energy crisis’ long reach


Most Recent Beyond The Headlines