People are dying for freedom in Libya, but really, is this going to cost me more to fill up?

This is from USA TODAY – it speaks for itself.  If there is any future historian of our era, he or she will not be able to paint a very human picture of us.  All we seem to care about is our ability to drive everywhere, no matter the cost in blood.

Most selfish generation in history?

I thought the teabaggers that were going to save this country were all about personal responsibility and communal Christian religious examples.  instead, I guess we get 21st Century  hippiestock  – I’ll get mine – under the guise of Republicans “saving the country.”

$5 per gallon by the peak driving season, my oh my, what will we do?

If political unrest in Libya spreads to other oil-rich countries and the ensuing chaos disrupts crude oil production, gas prices could hit $5 a gallon by peak summer driving season, industry analysts say.

By Khaled Desouki, USA TODAY

Protesters shout slogans against Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi on Tuesday as they hold up the old Libya flag during a demonstration outside Arab League headquarters in Cairo.Protesters shout slogans against Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi on Tuesday as they hold up the old Libya flag during a demonstration outside Arab League headquarters in Cairo.Oil prices soared to the highest level in more than two years as violence spread inLibya and Moammar Gadhafi‘s grip weakened. Only a small amount of Libya’s oil production appeared to have been affected, though analysts fear revolts will spread to OPEC heavyweights like Iran.

Benchmark West
Texas Intermediate for April delivery jumped $4.59, or 5% to $94.30 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The last time oil traded at that level was Oct. 2, 2008. The April contract traded as high as $98.48 per barrel.
 
  “If this thing escalates and there’s a good chance that there’d be a shift in supplies, $5 gas isn’t out of the question,” says Darin Newsom, senior analyst at energy tracker DTN.

The average price of regular gasoline is expected to rise to $3.25 within a few days, says Tom Kloza, chief analyst at the Oil Price Information Service. That’s 2.5% above Tuesday’s $3.17 national average.

Spanish oil company Repsol-YPF said Tuesday that it suspended operations in Libya, which produced 34,777 barrels of oil equivalent per day last year. Other oil companies, including Italy’s Eni,  “Above $4 a gallon, we’ll see consumers hunker down,” says Moody’s Economy.com economist Ryan Sweet. “It could take steam out of spending just as consumers were getting their sea legs.”
Royal Dutch Shell, U.K.-based BP and Germany’s Wintershall, started pulling out employees. Meanwhile, key Libyan officials resigned and air force pilots defected amid a bloody crackdown on the protests.
   
  
Middle Eastare fueling higher crude prices, other catalysts are driving gas prices. The U.S. economy, higher traditional consumption in spring and rising demand from China and other countries are likely to push gas to $3.75 to $4 a gallon by midsummer. Political upheaval in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates has energy markets braced for an even sharper run-up.   

 The economic impact could be huge.

 

“If you are looking at the disruption of movement and production in countries such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE, you’re easily talking $5 gas,” says Peter Beutel, president of energy adviser Cameron Hanover. “We have all the wrong things working together at the right time: an economic recovery, (stocks) making new highs, a lower dollar, strong seasonal demand and unrest in the heart of oil production.”
  
Speculators are also propelling oil. After profiting on soaring cotton, coffee and corn futures, traders are exploiting the energy market. “The flow of money plays an enormous role in the direction, speed and volatility of these markets,” says Newsom.
  
Kloza expects prices to peak at $3.75 a gallon by the Memorial Day weekend. “No question, they’ll climb further,” he says. “But if prices move too high, consumers will cut back, and prices will fall. It really alters consumer psychology.”

 

Libya holds the most oil reserves in Africa and is the world’s 15th-largest crude exporter at 1.2 million barrels per day, according to the Energy Information Administration.

Any production losses out of Libya could be quickly absorbed by other countries like Saudi Arabia, which can ramp up production as much as another five million barrels per day. The main concern stalking markets is that revolts in the Middle East and North Africa will spread to OPEC heavyweights, particularly Iran, the group’s second-largest producer.

Energy consultant Jim Ritterbusch said a “fear premium” has propped up oil prices by about $10 per barrel in the past several days. That means prices could tumble once the region settles down. “But that doesn’t look like it’s going to happen anytime soon, he said.”

Gas prices are up 20% from levels a year ago but nearly 23% below the record $4.11 average set in July 2008.

While troubles in Libya and brewing unrest in the

 

Crude prices

 AAA spokesman Troy Green says speculation on gas prices is premature. “I would caution folks in the prediction business,” he says. “Throwing out numbers is akin to predicting who’s going to win the Super Bowl in 2012.” 

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