Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Follow The Money

Yesterday, the price of a barrel of oil set a record, briefly, and in the middle of the trading day reached about $99.50 -- fueling frenzy about this $100 mark, which we seem destined to reach, and soon.

$100/ barrel?! Not THAT!
Stock people do this a lot -- there are these numbers that are doom numbers, at which point all hell breaks loose.

It's silly in a way -- on the other hand, my friends grandfather quit smoking the day cigarette prices rose to $1 -- said that was simply unreasonable. So, there is something to be said for single numbers that epitomize a trend we are uneasy with. I've never been a line in the sand girl, but try to be all the time.

I also read that estimates suggest that the price of a gallon of gas will reach $4.50 soon.
So, according to another site for kids -- this one put on by the department of energy -- one barrel of oil yields just under 20 gallons of gas -- but that is less than half of the product yield of the barrel. 4 gallons of jet fuel come out of the barrel.

I wanted to understand better what the relationship between the price of gas and the price of the oil barrel were. They have a relationship, but not as much as you'd think, and a lot of the relationship is psychological. We use more oil than we can pump out of the earth, is the problem -- but I would imagine the gas companies in this country make sure that is not a problem around these parts...

OPEC met to try to keep the price under $100. There are rumblings -- but the price of oil has risen %50 since September -- I'm pretty sure that's the number I read.

But I've been looking all morning to understand what this means for citizens -- the price of gas is going up -- the price of heating oil is going up. I don't need to learn what that means to me -- it's going to cost $10 to drive to Thanksgiving dinner and back. It's going to mean I save more money if I don't procrastinate pulling the air-conditioners out of the windows. Some people won't be able to afford the drive to work. Some people will die of cold in the middle of this warm, rich country this winter. People in homes -- to add to the others.

I imagine it also means that the pressure on the middle east -- the temperature that keeps that region boiling -- will find no respite in the coming year.

My friend, Seth, was talking four years ago about the US setting its next war sites on Iran -- in what seemed at the time to be fringe extremest talk on the internet. He also talked then about how little is covered by the established news papers. I am always very defensive of our journalists -- but he was right.

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