April 18, 2011 | National Review Online

Think You’re Paying Too Much at the Pump?

The Saudis beg to differ. Reuters reports:

Saudi Arabia’s oil minister said on Sunday the kingdom had slashed output by 800,000 barrels per day in March due to oversupply, sending the strongest signal yet that OPEC will not act to quell soaring prices.

Consumers have urged the exporters’ group to pump more crude to put a cap on oil, which surged to more than $127 a barrel this month, its highest level in 2 1/2 years amid unrest in North Africa and the Middle East.

Oil Ministers from Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates echoed Saudi Arabia’s Ali al-Naimi’s concerns about oversupply and said rocketing crude prices were out of the hands of OPEC …

The kingdom promised nearly $93 billion in handouts to its citizens in the wake of the wave of unrest that swept the Arab world this spring, making a sharp fall in oil prices a major risk for its budget.

This is just one more illustration of why America’s energy policies should aim to break OPEC, the oil cartel, which is a “conspiracy in restraint of trade,” and to break also oil’s near-monopoly of the transportation-fuel market. I wrote about this last week for NRO, noting:

The rising cost of gasoline is not just an energy dilemma and an economic drag. It’s a national-security threat. We are fighting a war and we are funding both sides — transferring unprecedented amounts of wealth to those who openly declare themselves our enemies.

Iran’s rulers are using oil money to develop nuclear weapons and fund terrorist groups, including Hezbollah, that are now staging a slow-motion coup in Lebanon, and Hamas, which is committed to the extermination of Israel. A generous share of the money that goes to Saudi Arabia and other Gulf nations ends up in the coffers of the Taliban and al-Qaeda. Hugo Chàvez spends Venezuela’s petro-dollars to expand his influence and that of his Iranian allies throughout Latin America.

Today on NRO, my old friend Robert Zubrin takes a closer look at the inadequacies of the Obama administration’s energy policies:

At current prices of $108 per barrel, Americans this year will pay over $800 billion for oil, an amount equal to 33 percent of all federal tax revenues, with two thirds of the take going to fill the coffers of foreign regimes. If current trends continue, there is every prospect that oil prices will more than triple by Obama’s 2025 target date, leaving us paying more for oil than we pay to the federal government.

In other words, the Obama plan is a strategy whose stated goal entails the total defeat of the United States in the energy war. …

This wrecking operation on our economy is being perpetuated by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), a cartel of tyrannies and kleptocracies largely hostile or indifferent to the prosperity of the industrialized West. This cartel, which controls 80 percent of the world’s commercially viable oil reserves, is currently limiting its production to 1973 levels — despite a doubling of the size of the world economy in the nearly four decades since. As a result, we and our allies are having our economies looted as oil prices go through the roof, with even worse consequences falling upon the world’s poorest. An oil impost that causes depression in the advanced world can cause starvation in the Third World.

The full article is available here.

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