Thursday, July 24, 2008

Hello, Dolly

David Wighton writes, in the Times of London, that, with oil prices dropping 14% in two weeks, we may be witnessing the "tipping point" for the "unsustainable" prices we've seen lately.

Hello, Dolly.

That's what's responsible (in part), according to Wighton. Prices continued to fall "after it became clear there would be little disruption to production in the Gulf of Mexico from Hurricane Dolly."

Wighton points out that there are other factors at work here. Demand has slowed because "Americans are driving less and buying more fuel-efficient cars."

Here in Dallas, the number of people who take public transportation to work and leave their personal vehicles at home has risen noticeably.

Beyond that, "Demand growth is slowing in Europe and should even start to moderate in China and India, where government-controlled petrol prices have been raised," writes Wighton.

It's a good thing that Dolly spared the oil production facilities in the Gulf of Mexico, but there are lots of other problems that come with a storm like this.

The Brownsville (Texas) Herald reports serious, extensive flooding in the area, which is prompting numerous water rescues.

If this makes you think of New Orleans and Hurricane Katrina, the Herald says the levees look likely to hold.

Still, the knowledge of what a storm, even a relatively mild one like Dolly, could do to oil production facilities at a time when oil prices are already at unbelievable levels makes you realize how much worse things could have been.

"Oil markets" (like hurricanes, I might add) "are notoriously hard to forecast," Wighton says, "but, if prices have indeed now peaked, there is a good chance that the worst of the present inflation shock may have passed by the end of the summer. ...

"Let's just hope Dolly and her sisters behave for the rest of the hurricane season."


Perhaps now the discussion can start to focus on a long-term solution to our addiction to foreign oil.

Senator Obama? Senator McCain?

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