Are you worried about rising oil prices?

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Opec is pumping a record 30 million barrels of oil a day, and could boost that by another 1-1.5 million barrels if needed, its president, Purnomo Yusgiantoro, has said.

This comes after oil prices broke new records overnight as Asian trade pushed a barrel of New York light sweet crude close to $45.

Last week, prices rose on concerns that a multi-billion dollar tax demand against Russian oil giant Yukos might force it temporarily to suspend production.

The terror alert in the US and a major attack on a main oil pipeline in Iraq this week have also helped to trigger oil price increases.

The latest rises are causing worries in importing countries about the economic cost of higher energy prices.

The International Energy Agency, told BBC News Online that oil at $35 a barrel - the average for the past year - would take half a percentage point off global growth.

Are you worried about rising oil prices?
How will you be affected?
Why are we so dependent on oil?
What are the alternatives?
How does oil influence global politics?

The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:

I think the higher oil goes the better. It will then get us to cleaner energy quicker
Les

The free market will solve this problem
Tim

The problem will never get solved; the human race is greedy and selfish

Bob

Higher oil prices will push the US in the direction of discovering better sources of energy
Mike

What is the alternative at our current level of technology?
Lynn

The world's demand for oil and the limit of its production is finally becoming apparent
Rick

The whole world, especially the Third world will continue to suffer
as a result of the high oil prices and that is worrying

Mlungisi


To allow such enormous civilization to depend on oil only shows how little
intelligence humans have

Nebojsa

How many businesses are reliant upon a ready supply of oil
and therefore how over valued is the stock market?
Stuart G

I find it more alarming when prices for a finite resource remain stable
or even decrease in the face of ever-increasing demand
Jon

Once Iraq is stable, we will have a better and more reliable supply of oil.
David

It is only an excuse for the rich nations to make more money out of the poor.
Mike

I believe that the government should purchase more fuel efficient commercial vehicles
like fuel efficient buses and they should attempt to slow down this inflation.
Jonathan

Perhaps this will give people the motivation they need to promote the rapid evolution of the oil-based economy we have today into something more sustainable before it's too late to change.
Alex

Fixing this problem is not the job nor the responsibility of the governments of the world.
The free market will solve this problem. It will either create new technology or find more reserves of oil.
Tim

It's quite clear the peak of oil supplied has passed. We should look into other energy sources instead of how to control the oil price. There is nothing we can do unless the demand diminishes.
Soony

80% of the price of petrol in France is only taxes so when the price of petrol goes up you don't really see it at the petrol station.
Julien

In the US a large part of the excess consumption would end if gas-guzzling vehicles like large SUVs were heavily taxed, restricted or banned out right.
Dave

With every dollar it rises, alternative energy sources become more and more attractive. If you think
for the long term, we simply cannot afford to have cheap fossil fuels. Invest in wind, solar & wave now!
Andrew

Higher prices provide greater incentive for the market to come up with an alternative.
That's the beauty of capitalism. It will resolve itself eventually.
Jeff

Us normal people are, but George W Bush and Dick Cheney are probably laughing all the way
to the bank! War means profit!
MJA

Something of a non-renewable nature as oil can only be enjoyed as long as it lasts. It will never be available again. To allow such enormous civilization to develop and depend on oil only shows how little intelligence humans have. In that regard we are no different than locusts.
Nebojsa

I agree with others that say higher oil prices will push the US in the direction of discovering better sources of energy. However, like the Iraq war, I see no good energy plan in place that will ensure a successful outcome. I hope Japan and Europe will make us wake up.
Mike

As long as the consumers in the developed world, including the United States, continue to regard the consumption of oil as their prerogative rather than developing alternate sources of energy, industrial development and modern life will continue to be handcuffed by the prices set by the producers.
Stephen

We already have many alternative fuels; we can put white spirit and vegetable oil in diesels, why are we not doing this now? It's clean, renewable, cheap and available. As for the worlds power supplies, fusion until fusion; there is no other viable alternative.
Ben

I remember learning as a kid that we where going to run out of oil. It looks like we are; or at least starting to. This gives a good reason to start looking into renewable resources, with solar, wind power. I think exploring and expanding the Hybrid cars will help us overcome are dependence on oil.
Ann

In my state SUVs, which get poor mileage, are also exempt from pollution controls. It's time we re-emphasize more fuel-efficient vehicles, which will be to the dismay of the greedy materialistic people who see having a bigger, more luxurious vehicle as winning a personal arms race.
Chrisse

I don't care about rising oil prices. I don't own a car and I think those who do should be paying even more for the privilege of polluting our atmosphere. The next revolution will be electric. Let's get started...
Wallace

Since fire was discovered humans have integrated some form of fuel into our lives. Those fuels have continued to evolve. Same thing will happen this time. We have no choice but to come up with alternate energy sources. There aren't enough caves to house us all.
Lisa

If we are all worried about the price of oil, imagine what would happen to oil prices if Islamic extremists gain control of the Middle eastern oil. This is why I support the war in Iraq, at least us poor nations can be assured of a oil supply with no strings attached
Anon

Not just oil - fossil fuels in general, plus uncontrolled habitat destruction. My hope is that recurring crises like this one will somehow get the idea across that, ultimately, the habitat we are destroying most enthusiastically is our own. My fear is that, like so often in the past, they won't.
Deborah

The global car industry must respond to the increasing oil price and produce fuel efficient cars, not gas guzzling SUVs, so everyone can drive a litre of petrol further and then use realistic alternate fuels as CNG,LPG, FUEL CELLS. New technology always becomes affordable through mass production.
Damon

If it was not for the US and its allies destabilising the Middle East, oil prices would have been much lower. The whole world, especially the Third world will continue to suffer as a result of the high oil prices and that is worrying.
Mlungisi

Well, this is what everyone wanted, right? Prohibitively high gasoline prices that will make it economical to pursue alternative energy sources and non-gasoline vehicles. So what's the matter? That the market is doing the work rather than a government regulatory agency or taxation scheme?
Jeremy

Let the oil crisis come! It's the quickest way to developing alternate fuels. Look at the rise in the Hybrid-car sales recently! Once we stop caring about oil, we can likewise stop caring about the Middle East. Oh goodness, wouldn't the Middle East miss our money and be begging for us to come back!
Michael

We could grow all the oil we ever need, we're just too stupid to legalise cannabis and use the oil extracts from that to run our cars. The idiotic "war on drugs" will mean never ending American "liberation" of the oil from oil-rich nations.
Gary

The government should set a ceiling price for petrol, say 75p/litre. If the market price falls below that, they can increase the duty accordingly. If it rises above, they should reduce the tax. There is no way that the Exchequer should be able to benefit from the tax windfall from higher market prices at the public expense.
Jon

The world is full of hypocrites. The same people who argue about depletion of fossil fuels drive around in gas guzzling SUV's. The problem will never get solved; the human race is greedy and selfish. And besides, since when did any of us actually have a say in any politics. The top 0.05% run the world and keep the other 99.95% poor.. What's the point in debate?
Bob

Pray tell, what is the alternative at our current level of technology? Of course we need an alternative source, but one that will benefit all. A few windmills or solar panels will not bring power to everyone. Until you can show a viable alternative, like it or not (and I hate high prices too), oil will be the standard.
Lynn

Prospecting for the new oil fields, have not yield any good news in the recent past. Some of the oil companies have had inflating the known reserves. The price is bound to rise as the reserves deplete and demand rise form the heavily populated countries like China and India. Oil is not going to last for ever. "World" should work and move quickly towards alternative fuel.
Bhanu

Oil, along with other fossil fuels has been the easiest way to obtain energy for many years now. Unfortunately, the way we use it is not very efficient and also pollutes. It is time to use start making the switch to alternative methods of obtaining energy e.g. nuclear, solar, wind and tidal power for generating electricity for vehicles. Or fuel cells. All are more efficient and friendlier to the environment.
Dan

Every attempt to develop non-petroleum sources of energy get squelched by TPTB, who are dead set on oil being the only viable energy source, and they control both the political and financial climates. The great disappointment of the 20th century is the "locking out" of all other forms of energy development to bolster the oil magnates and their quest for ultimate power.
Alan

The oil price volatility indicates the beginning of the decline of oil production. Those who comment that this is a good thing, an opportunity to develop alternatives, simply do not appreciate the graveness of the situation. I cannot think of anything in our civilization that is not dependent in some way on oil. When oil becomes expensive our civilization will no longer be affordable.
Thomas

What I want to know is who is playing with the oil market? The fluctuations in the price of oil we have been seeing over the last couple months have strongly depended on the court case against the oil company YUKOS. But the ministry in Russia seems to be consistently issuing contradicting statements, each one affecting the price of oil, and the entire U.S. stock market in general. What I want to know is who is getting rich off of these market fluctuations? Is the ministry playing with the world market on purpose, or are individuals, or more likely companies, bribing officials to get rich?
Eric

Ok, name one product you are dependant on that isn't manufactured from, OR uses an oil product petrol - oil
airplane fuel - oil
plastic - oil
makeup - oil
Oil is an organic compound that when refined is possibly the most useful substance to people in the developed world, conservation of this resource should be a top priority for world leaders.
Kevin

My concern with rising oil prices is that it indicates humanity is failing to pay attention to some simple, but global lessons that we must learn - to survive. The alternatives have been known and are more effective in generating energy, as well as less pollution: wind, waves, the sun, fuel cells, etc. Civil society must reassert its primacy over the corporate mechanism that now threaten our existence in their resistance to change for the better of humanity and of the planet.
James

Every attempt to develop non-petroleum sources of energy get squelched by TPTB

Alan, San Diego, CA

The oil market is massive, complex, and cannot be attributed to any one nation's actions or policies. It is arguable that the increase in prices over the last couple of years has been caused just as much by Venezuelan civil unrest as it has been by the Iraq war or the tax demand on Yukos. Rising prices for a non-renewable resource are not bad, however. I find it more alarming when prices for a finite resource remain stable or even decrease in the face of ever-increasing demand.
Jon

The problem is that oil is not only used as a fuel. Say goodbye to plastic, metals, rubber. In addition, oil is so ingrained in industry that a change over to a new energy would take decades. We have months. Those here who blindly trust the open market are naive to the strangle-hold the oil producers have on new energy advancements. Why would it be in their interest to research them?
Matt

There is no point in worrying about high oil prices. This is just the beginning of the end for our addiction to petrochemicals. There are plenty of things that could be done, without sacrificing the car. For starters addressing the outrageous wastage of oil in the manufacture of totally useless plastic packaging.
Andrew

I worry only if it signals a secret fear among the traders that the OPEC nations cannot in fact open the spigot and provide the strategic quantities of oil required to meet the rate of demand increase globally. Recently, reactive changes in price have not had a symmetrical return to where it started. Prices go up in reaction to an event and don't fall at the same speed after the event. This lag is a clear indicator that the traders are betting on short supplies.
Nigel

I'm hoping they go higher. Americans are completely ignorant of the forces that control our lives; primarily big business. As prices go up and corporate profits skyrocket, maybe the pain inflicted on the average person will reach such a point that true change can develop here. The oil companies are un-American; the citizens suffers while the CEOs make vast fortunes. Something must change.
Bennett

In my country, road construction is subsided at an astonishing rate. Transit projects are much more difficult to start. Even worse, Congress is considering language in the new six-year transportation bill that would decrease the federal funding level for transit projects from 80% to 50% (requiring 50% state and local funding) while maintaining the 80% subsidy of road projects. It's very clear that energy and oil conservation is not a priority of this administration.
David

The imbalance between supply and demand will cause a shift in the global market as some users will find alternative energy sources more attractive and predictable. Here is Europe's chance to lead the way by proving that new technology combined with conservation are a viable option to fossil fuels. They need not and should not wait for the US to take the lead on this issue. Of all the world's major economic blocs, they have the most to gain by success in this effort and the most to lose in failure.
Mark

The world's demand for oil and the limit of its production is finally becoming apparent. We are on an upward curve for the cost of oil, just as we are on a downward curve for production. Post this Election period for the US & many EU countries, next year will see many changes. These will come under the cloak of Terrorism & Climate Change where as the real reason will be lack of sufficient energy for continued growth. It is indeed a time of transition and major changes. Consciousness of this subject is growing, PEAK OIL is a reality we must finally wake up to!
Rick

High oil prices in the US are here to stay unless some common sense prevails. The environmental wackos need to quit fighting the drilling in Alaska. Proof exists that the environment will not suffer. The other solution is for President Fox of Mexico to give the US one barrel of Mexican oil a day for each Mexican illegal alien in the US. That works out to about 20 million barrels a day. Since they have it we should trade.
Ron


Most analysts are in agreement that oil production will peak next year simply because no new oil reserves are being found. Unless we can reduce our demand for oil dramatically oil prices above $40 are likely to be the norm from now on. Flat Earth market economics break down because the fundamental assumption that supply adjusts to meet demand is no longer true for oil. You then have to ask the question - how many businesses are reliant upon a ready supply of oil and therefore how over valued is the stock market?
Stuart

Rising oil prices are a mixed blessing. They are rising due to increased demand, not reduced supply, so CO2 emissions are not going down. The rises will accelerate development of eco-friendly power sources, but will also make shale oil and coal more economic, and those are both disastrous for global warming. Since western governments have had their heads in the sand over the oil crunch, there will also be an economic slump, which will hurt the poor most in all countries, as always. The US will also become openly belligerent, invading any country which refuses to sell them all their spare oil, e.g. Sudan.
Ralph

This is just the start! For years it has been common knowledge in the oil industry that one day demand will outstrip supply, and that day appears to have been announced yesterday. Matt Simmons even suggested earlier this year that to finance sufficient new oil supplies to meet projected demand the price of a barrel of crude would have to hit $182. The reality is that in five to 10 years we'll be craving for today's fantastically low fuel prices.
Neil

It does make one wonder how much sand is left in the hour glass before a global economic collapse occurs on the scale of the 1929 stock market failure? This bubble can not go on forever! In the USA we have vast reserves of coal and natural gas (outside of Washington DC) and can move in other directions but many in the world have no options at all. When they figure out how to charge us for the sun then we will move to solar energy!
Paul

A horsepower race between Asian, USA and European auto manufacturers is in full swing. Consumers now demand bigger and faster, and the manufacturers respond. We all get what we deserve. Governments around the world should pass legislation to encourage purchases of hybrids and penalize gas guzzlers. We asked for it and we got it.
Ralph

I believe that one reason for the failure to institute wide usage of alternatives to oil is the fact that there is no one obvious replacement for oil. The diversity of alternatives (wind, hydroelectric power, solar power etc) means that there is no easy target for the current masters of energy, the oil industry, to take over and make profitable. They cannot replace their current monopoly with another and the effort to develop and implement all these other options is too expensive. Until governments reward investment in alternatives to oil, the market will take more and more extreme measures to extract oil, causing further wars and pushing the planet further towards extinction.
Lucy

I think that high oil prices should not concern the UK too much. It is the rest of Europe that should worry about increased cost in travel and manufacturing. If oil prices remain high the UK government can reduce the tax burden on industry and workers by offsetting the loss against tax receipts from North Sea oil and motorists (doubt this will happen). Also this may encourage people to travel less and use less fuel and hence reduce pollution. Another benefit of high oil prices is the extension of the life of North Sea oil and the prospect of more investment in research and development to recover oil that would be otherwise not recovered.
Jon

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