Thursday, October 25, 2012


Where we've been...where we are...where we're headed.

By Charles Stuart
Retired Petroleum Exploration and Research Geologist

Earlier this year I wrote a brief review (“Petroleum Imports, Exports, and the Price of Gasoline—A Review”) outlining the major factors that contribute to crude oil and gasoline prices.  This seemed necessary to counter misinformation from Republicans blaming President Obama for high gasoline prices last spring in the face of rising domestic production of crude oil and increased exports of U.S. refined petroleum products.  Gasoline prices fell during the summer, but rose sharply in late summer and early fall, again resulting in criticism of the President for not doing more to promote the petroleum industry and other energy industries.

As summarized in my earlier report, crude oil prices are set on global markets such as the futures (purchases made for delivery in the future), spot (oil sold for immediate delivery) and private markets, and not by U.S. companies or by any U.S. government entity, including the President.  Factors that contribute to crude oil prices are:

  • How much oil OPEC --the most important producing cartel-- exports (more or less oil is shipped); at present, there are adequate crude oil supplies in the global market, although the international embargo has reduced Iranian oil exports, primarily to Europe.
  • Sharp changes in demand (e.g., China, India, the U.S.); at present global demand is down because of weak economic conditions decreasing demand. 
  • The risk, or fear of risk, of supply disruption from geopolitical tensions (e.g., recurring issues with Iran and potential closure of the Strait of Hormuz); recently there has been unrest in the middle east, but there has been little or no affect on oil supplies.

The price of crude oil was in the $100-120 range early in the year mostly because of concerns over Iranian threats and the Strait of Hormuz.  This accounted for much of the rise in gas prices last spring.  However, in late spring oil prices fell and have remained in the $80 to $100 range for most of the time.  Today’s price (10/25/2012) ~$88 is still in that price range.  My conclusion is that global prices don’t account for the late summer (post-Labor day) surge in gasoline prices.

Other factors that contribute to crude oil and gasoline prices are domestic in nature:

  • Increasing domestic production of crude oil 
  • Capacity and proximity to pipelines and refineries 
  • The recession and less driving 
  • More efficient cars 
  • Use of ethanol in gasoline
  • A glut of gasoline 
  • Speculation.  

All of these are important, but the most talked about is domestic oil production.  We’re currently in the middle of an oil boom brought about by hydraulic fracturing of shale (“fracking”).  The boom has centered on North Dakota but is spreading to a number of states primarily in the mid-continent.  New production from these sources, as well as in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico, has boosted oil production significantly. Total U.S. production for the first seven months of 2012 increased 13% over the same period last year.  Part of this increased production has offset oil imports, so is making us less dependent on foreign sources.  In addition, U.S. exports of crude oil and refined products have increased 10.5% in the first seven months of this year compared to last year.  This includes gasoline.  It seems that if we export there should be an excess of product and that should drive down the price of gasoline, but it hasn’t happened.  I don’t know why not, but it’s difficult to see how the President could be held responsible.

The President has also been criticized for not leasing more Federal land for oil and gas exploration.  The fracking boom is primarily in the mid-continent where there is little Federal land, so there’s not much the President can do there.  Also fracking has potential environmental risks that may not always be considered.  Drilling and leasing in the Gulf of Mexico has resumed, so there shouldn’t be a problem there.  Gov. Romney wants leases to be granted off Virginia where prospects are uncertain.  Could this be an attempt to influence Virginia voters?  In the Rocky Mountains, much Federal land is already leased, but companies want to drill near (or in?) national parks and monuments in order to frack; probably not a good idea.  Utah has vast oil shale deposits, much of them on Federal lands that could be leased, but a viable extraction process hasn’t been demonstrated yet that doesn’t potentially contaminate the land surface or groundwater supplies.  The Bureau of Land Management is currently hosting public review meetings to address local concerns.

Most of the factors noted above should decrease oil prices not increase them.  This should factor into lower gasoline prices.  Why then have gas prices shot up so abruptly?  There are two additional factors of a temporary or seasonal nature that I didn’t mention before that partially explain higher prices:
  1. Fires or mechanical problems shut down or decreased production from three major refineries, two in California and one in Houston.  This significantly limited supplies in California, which cannot import gasoline from other states because of strict requirements for emission-reduction components of the gasoline.  While California gas prices are always the highest in the nation, it has resulted in $5 gas at some locations.  The loss of refined products from the Texas refinery could be made up by supplies from surrounding areas, so the affect has not been as significant.
  2. This is the time of year for many areas to change gasoline additives for the winter season, which adds to the price.

Of the major factors affecting gas prices, this leaves speculation.  While I don’t have any specific information on whether someone is trying to influence the crude oil and/or gasoline markets, it does seem odd that prices have gone up so abruptly this close to the presidential election.  However, all I can do is speculate about it.

Lastly I have a few words about natural gas and coal in the overall context of energy utilization.  Natural gas production has gone up markedly because of the fracking technology currently being exploited for oil production.  It has been so successful, in fact, that there is a huge glut of natural gas on the market.  This has driven down natural gas prices, slowed exploration efforts to find more, and made natural gas a strong competitor to coal for electricity generation.  At present, the cost of generating electricity is close to the same for gas and coal, but natural gas has half the CO2 emissions as coal and none of the particulate pollutants.  Consequently many coal-fired power plants have converted to natural gas.  When Republicans tell coal miners that Obama and the EPA have somehow forced this change, it’s not true.  It’s the free market for low-cost and trouble-free fuels.  (It is true that the EPA stopped some hilltop mine developments in the Appalachians, because this kind of mine pollutes and clogs stream channels with silt, and destroys towns.)  As an added side benefit of coal replacement, in addition to improved auto efficiency, annual CO2 emissions in this country have declined over the past few years.  Natural gas is the ideal bridge fuel from oil and coal to energy sources of the future whatever they may be.

Moosetracks Team Sends GOTV Volunteers to Colorado

Where we've been...where we are...where we're headed.

By Dan Syroid

Three of us including LaVonne Maloney, Doug Vilnius and myself traveled to CMU to get out the vote on Campus all day on October 24. Early voting in Colorado runs from October 22 thru Friday November 2 with a gap for three days before election day on November 6.  The weather on the 24th was blustery with some high winds that blew our tent away. We started at 9 am with a table at our normal post outside the Student Union building, but by noon, due to winds and threat of rain, had to move just inside the student union where we stayed until student traffic died down around 4.  The student union (official name: University Center) houses a good cafeteria and casual dining area that includes deli, pizza, mexican, sandwich and sodas and gourmet coffee. It also includes administrative offices and has high student and faculty traffic.  Both locations turned out to be productive in making contact with students and encouraging early voting.

CMU has a modern campus and has an enrollment of over 8000 students. Our approach, with La Vonne taking the lead, was to ask passing students "Do you support the president?" If they said yes as many did, we would pass out a flyer indicating the nearest location to CMU for early voting which is about 2 miles away. At Alicia D's (OFA CO) suggestion, we offered rides to the poll for students, but only one accepted.  It is possible that a "ride to the polls" effort with more advance notice to the students could be more effective.  Here are the estimates on the nature and number of our contacts:  

Total number of students and faculty contacted:                    350

Number of Obama supporters we gave early vote flyers to:     130

Number that said they had already voted for Obama:               50

Number of undecideds we engaged in lengthy discussions:      20

La Vonne said that she spoke to more people in an effective way on the 24th than on all her 5 previous trips to CO combined.  Based on these results it would be great if we could have one or more trips to CMU during the next few days prior to the end of early voting on Nov 2.  Unfortunately, the three of us have other commitments and will not be able to repeat an early vote campaign.  However, it would be great if others would like to set up a trip back to CMU.  It would need to be during the week since there is little activity on campus on Sat and Sun.  I will be glad to supply whatever help, materials and contacts to do a repeat trip.  

Special thanks go out to Igor and Mallory for arranging for gas cards and a great place to stay in GJ, to Alicia D in OFA CO office for her help with materials and posters, to Don and Leslie Wood for contributing the $100 table fee to CMU, and to Sheryl and Jim for great conversations and putting us up for the night in GJ...and of course to my great team mates La Vonne and Doug.

Dan Syroid is a Park City resident and member of the Summit/Wasatch Counties OFA team.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Moose Tracks -- The Highest Good

Where we've been...where we are...where we're headed

Today we are going to talk about ethics & morality. A busload of politicians were driving down a country road when the bus suddenly ran off the road and crashed into an old farmer's field. The old farmer heard the tragic crash so he rushed over to investigate. He then began digging a large grave to bury the politicians. A few hours later, the local sheriff was driving past the farmer's field and noticed the bus wreck. He approached the old farmer and asked where all the politicians had gone. The old farmer explained that he'd gone ahead and buried all of them. "Were they ALL dead?" asked the puzzled sheriff. "Well, some of them said they weren't," said the old farmer, "but you know how them politicians lie."
Mark Twain once remarked, "Always do what is right. It will gratify half of mankind and astound the other.” Today's Gospel invites us to think about morality, about choosing what is right. Moral philosophy, developing a moral compass is a lot like navigating at sea. It can take time & much effort to develop the necessary wisdom & skills to live a life that is good, spiritually rich & emo- tionally satisfying. The first seafarers began by keeping land in sight. That was the first trick of navigation—follow the coast. To find an old fishing ground or the way through a shoal, one could line up landmarks, such as a near rock against a distant point on land. But what if land were no- where nearby? The Phoenicians looked to the heavens. The sun moving across the commonly cloudless Mediterranean sky gave them their direction. The Phoenicians knew the East as Asu (sun- rise) and the West as Ereb (sunset). At night, they steered by the stars. The philosopher Thales of Miletos taught Ionian sailors to navigate by the Little Bear constellation fully 600 years before the birth of Christ. Before the invention of the compass, watch, and the sextant, the mariner's main guide was latitude. To obtain their latitude, Arabs measured the altitude above the horizon to a known star, and then deduced from this the altitude of the Pole Star, (since the Pole Star was the one star that did not move in the sky).
Is there anything equivalent to the Pole Star in the area of morality; is there anything like a perma- nently fixed point in the sky by which we can navigate during our journey in life? Aristotle, who lived about 300 years before Jesus, said yes. The Pole Star of moral decision-making is that which is desired for itself & for nothing else. Aristotle noticed that all human action was rooted in desire; everything we do we do because we are wanting something. He then noticed that most of the time, we want one thing in order to acquire another thing. We want a new coat because we desire to stay warm. We want an All-Wheel SUV because we want to be able to get around when the snow gets deep. Aristotle then asked what I think is one of the most important questions anyone has ever asked; is there something that all of us desire, not to get something else, but just for itself? If there is, could it serve as our moral Pole Star, our fixed point in relation to which all our moral decision- making can be guided & directed?
To answer this important question, he used the same technique very familiar to most 4 year olds; he asked a series of why-questions. You say you want a new coast....why? Because you do not want to be cold....why? Because you want to be comfortable....why? Because you want to be happy in life; you want a life that is characterized by happiness, by a profound sense of satisfaction. Happiness, Aristotle suggested, is the highest good; "happiness then is something complete & self-sufficient, since it is the end of the things pursued in action."
But what is true happiness for Aristotle? Is it just a feeling? Is happiness simply an emotional state of well-being; it is just the absence of pain or suffering? No, happiness goes far beyond a tempo- rary, transitory good feeling. Happiness is the state of living in harmony with one's highest self, in accord with one's essence, core, or being. The essential quality of our humanity that separates us from the animal world is our capacity for reason; for an intelligence that allows us to think crea- tively, rationally, critically & self-consciously. As far as we know, we are the only creatures on earth who can be aware of & reflect upon our own passions, emotions, desires & actions. This means we can use our reason & intelligence to choose, to choose to live in a manner that expresses our ability to transcend our lesser desires & passions in the service of living in harmony with the kinds of thoughts, desires & actions that will bring health, satisfaction & goodness to ourselves & others. Because we are in our essence beings capable of rationality & self-awareness, we can choose to avoid extremes & excesses by living our lives with moderation & balance. The life of rationality is the life of happiness, the "good life." Tana French in her book, In the Woods, puts it this way, "It's not that you do the right thing and hope it pays off; the morally right thing is by defi- nition the thing that gives the biggest payoff.”
I think most of us would agree that it would not be too difficult for us to develop a list of examples of how our nation & culture seem to be in trouble. And while we all tend to think in terms of taxes, deficits & debts, I suspect the more profound problem is a moral & spiritual one. For example, one morning this week I watched a panel discussion on C-SPAN. The panel of business leaders was discussing the sense of anxiety & dis-ease that seems pervasive these days. One of the panelists spoke about a turn that occurred in the business community decades ago that has led to a kind of moral impoverishment & lack of vision for the future. He noted that several decades ago, the busi- ness schools along with the intelligentsia within the business community began to think & talk almost exclusively about profit as the mission of corporations; increasing the profit margins of the company became more & more the sole target & the underlying justification for all the company & its employees did. The aggressive pursuit of efficiency & profit eclipsed every other moral & spiri- tual concern, every other human value within corporate culture. Lost in this movement was any sense of the company's potential & responsibility to make their community or the world a better place to live; any vision of a Highest Good, a Transcendent Value, a moral Pole Star that could not only motivate people to want to do well, but could infuse them with meaning & purpose. A lesser vision eclipsed a greater one & in the process, we lost our way. We lost our connection with who we are in our essence.
Put simply, such reductionism kills the human soul & suffocates the human spirit. This is the warn- ing of Aristotle & Jesus; do not place the lesser in the place of the superior, do not replace a deep appreciation of who we are created to be with an inhumane, objectified vision of our humanity; do not make gods out of pleasure, wealth & status and thereby neglect the Highest Good, the Ultimate Love that is able to give our lives the moral direction & wisdom required for true freedom, happi- ness & richness in life. Both Aristotle & Jesus teach that the life we are all looking for, the life of profound happiness & deep satisfaction can only be found as we commitment ourselves to a life of loving & pursuing the Highest Good, a life of loving God. Open your heart, make the Sacred the central concern of your life, let the love of God inform all of your decisions & see what happens. AMEN.
October 14, 2012


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

New Volunteer Opportunities!

Where we've been...where we are...where we're going....

It’s time! No more ‘later’. We need your help with making phone calls!!!!  Here is the good news and the bad news. 
Good: our Phone Banks in Summit and Wasatch County have definitely improved thanks to our star volunteers.  
Bad: I found out last night after meeting with Headquarters that we need to triple our weekly calls.
Good: We are now going to call exclusively into Colorado (the polls show it to be a very, very, very close race there …)  
Bad: We can’t create calling lists for Colorado – they have to be coordinated with the Colorado staff, so we have to plan a week ahead; I must know how many people will be attending each Phone Bank a week before.
So it is time to make your commitment to the Campaign – we have 55 days until Election Day. The Phone Bank schedule for the next month is as follows:
Tuesevery week4-8 pmPhone Bank*Peggy Stuart's home:
113 Paradise Rd., Summit Park
Wedevery week11-6 pmFarmer's MarketThe Canyons - Parking Lot
Wedevery week4-8 pmPhone Bank*Gay Lynn Costa's home
463 So 100 E.
Midway  84049
Thursevery week5:00-9 pmPhone Bank***1890 Bonanza Drive #105
Park City 

Satevery week1-4 pmPhone Bank***1890 Bonanza Drive #105
Park City 


So get out your calendar and make a commitment. Let us know which days you will work for you by contacting:
Fran Craigle at or call her at 801.859.1211
Lets pull together to re-elect Barack Obama and make sure Colorado's 9 electoral votes are part of the 270 votes we need to win!  and Thank You!
Liana B. Teteberg
CDM Consulting Group, LLC
120 Parkview Terrace
Park City, Utah  84098
The information in this email and attachments, if any, may be confidential, privileged and protected from disclosure under applicable laws. If you are not the intended recipient of this message, notice is hereby given that any dissemination, distribution or copying of this communication is strictly prohibited. If you have received this in error, please notify us immediately and delete any copies. Thank you for your cooperation.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Moosetracks 2012

Where we've been...where we are...where we're headed....

With 65 days remaining before election day, we need to increase our effort to ensure President Obama is re-elected.  The Republican Convention should have you Fired Up and Ready To Go.
Please join me in congratulating Darlene Wasilewski.  She has been accepted as an Obama Fellow in New Hampshire.  She is leaving this weekend to accept her new volunteer position there and will remain in NH until after the election.  We will miss her very much.  She has been our news monitor and has made many trips to Colorado in support of our campaign.  Darlene's leaving combined with the opening of the Summit County Democratic Party Office have necessitated changes in our event schedule.  The Office on Bonanza will accomodate and support all local candidates and Glen Wright, chair of the Summit County Democratic Party has generously given us space for campaign related work and the Obama for America Team phone banks.  Come check us out!
To summarize the changes, the phone bank historically held at Liana's home on Tuesday will be moved to Peggy Stuart, who lives just up the mountain a little higher.  Darlene's phone bank on Thursday will move to the Democratic Party office on Bonanza.  This location will be much more convenient for many of you and I would love to see you there. 
 The changes are noted below highlighted in red in the embedded calendar:
Tuesevery week4-8 pmPhone Bank*Peggy Stuart's home:
113 Paradise Rd., Summit Park
Wedevery week4-8 pmPhone Bank*Gay Lynn Costa's home
463 So 100 E.
Midway  84049
Wedevery week11-6 pmFarmer's MarketThe Canyons - Parking Lot
every week5:00-9 pmPhone Bank
***1890 Bonanza Drive #105
Park City 
Tues/Thursevery week5-9 pmPhone Bank200 So 175 W.
Fri-SunSept 14-16 CanvassingGrand Junction
Fri-SunSept 28-30 CanvassingGrand Junction
Fri-SunOct 12-14 CanvassingGrand Junction
Fri-SunOct 19-21 CanvassingGrand Junction
Fri-SunOct 26-28 CanvassingGrand Junction
MonSept 4-6 Democrat ConventionTelevision
ThursSept 65:30-7:30President Obama's Acceptance SpeechMolly Blooms (Kimball Junction)
WedOct 37 pm MSTPresidential DebateTelevision  - See attached schedule
ThursOct 117 pm MSTVice Presidential DebateTelevision  - See attached schedule
TuesOct 167 pm MSTPresidential DebateTelevision  - See attached schedule
MonOct 227 pm MSTPresidential DebateTelevision  - See attached schedule
*Directions to Peggy's HouseTake I-80 to Exit 140; Turn south; turn right at 'No Worries' cafĂ©; turn left at Parkview Dr.; drive 1 mile; look for brown house with starburst on garage, corner of Lower Evergreen and Parkview Dr.; take next right (sign is down, but it's Upper Evergreen); take aleft at top of the hill.  Left on Paradise Rd; House is second on the left:  brown brick with portico;  if you miss Upper Evergree or if it is snowing, continue on Parkview Dr. to Paradis, turn right to 113 Paradise Rd.
**Directions to Gay Lynn's HouseBitmap Take the US-40 E exit, EXIT 146, toward Heber/Vernal.
Turn right onto W River Rd;
enter next roundabout and take the 3rd exit onto  River Rd/N River Rd;
turn right onto E. Main St./UT-113; take the 3rd left onto E. 450 S.;
take the 1st right onto S 100 E.; 463 S 100 E. is on the left.
***Directions to Summit County Democrats' OfficeTake I-80 to UT-224 to Park City; turn left onto Kearns Blvd.; turn right onto Bonanza Dr.; destination will be on the left; office is adjacent to Verizon Store
Please call me with any questions or further information as needed.  Thanks to all of you who have been so incredibly supportive. 

Liana B. Teteberg
CDM Consulting Group, LLC
120 Parkview Terrace
Park City, Utah  84098
The information in this email and attachments, if any, may be confidential, privileged and protected from disclosure under applicable laws. If you are not the intended recipient of this message, notice is hereby given that any dissemination, distribution or copying of this communication is strictly prohibited. If you have received this in error, please notify us immediately and delete any copies. Thank you for your cooperation.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Moosetracks--Where We've Been...Where We Are...Where We're Going

A Few of President Obama's Accomplishments...So Far:

  • Signed into law an economic plan that saved America from a depression, restored growth, and created or saved as many as 3.6 million jobs.
  • Signed into law landmark health insurance reform that holds insurance companies accountable, gives people and small businesses greater control of health care, and improves the quality of health care for all Americans.
  • Fought against Wall Street lobbyists to sign into law historic consumer protections and financial reforms that shield American families from unfair lending practices from credit card and mortgage companies, rein in the excesses of Wall Street, and work to prevent future financial crises.
  • Reformed the college loan system by ending subsidies to banks and using the money to make college more affordable. He also invested in community colleges that are providing Americans with the skills they need to succeed in today's economy.
  • Rescued the American auto industry, which saved millions of American jobs and helped GM and Chrysler become profitable again while repaying taxpayers.
  • Repealed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” which makes it possible for individuals to serve in the military regardless of their sexual orientation.
  • Helped women get the equal pay they deserve by signing into law the Lilly Ledbetter Act.
  • Ended the war in Iraq, initiated a responsible drawdown of forces in Afghanistan, and ordered the operation that killed Osama bin Laden.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Moose Tracks

Where have we been...where are we going?


By Charles Stuart

Retired Petroleum Exploration and Research Geologist

President Obama has been recently criticized by the GOP because of rising gasoline prices. The big question is how can government, including the President, reduce gasoline prices, if at all?

The market for crude oil, from which gasoline, diesel and other products are refined, is mostly global. Oil is bought and sold:

  • In futures markets (purchases made for delivery in the future)
  • The spot market (oil sold for immediate delivery)
  • Private sales

The futures and spot markets are open to all buyers and sellers, but are significantly influenced by various factors:

  • How much oil OPEC --the most important producing cartel-- exports (more or less oil is shipped),
  • Sharp changes in demand (e.g., China, India, the U.S.)
  • The risk, or fear of risk, of supply disruption from geopolitical tensions (e.g., current issues with Iran and potential closure of the Strait of Hormuz).

In this system, crude oil and refined products trade freely back and forth across borders in an attempt to balance supply and demand.

The U.S. is a good example of how the system works. Last year we imported about half of the crude oil we use, down about 10% from 2006. At the same time, we exported some crude oil, and more diesel and other refined products than we imported.

Petroleum products were the top U.S. export commodity in 2011! If we export, there must be a surplus of gasoline and diesel (there is), but prices have been rising. Why?

Because we import a lot of oil, global markets have a major impact on domestic prices, especially in parts of the country that require the most imported oil. The current rise in gasoline prices is directly related to tensions over Iran. In addition to the impact of these markets, in the U.S., a number of other factors influence oil prices:

  • Increasing domestic production of crude oil
  • Capacity and proximity to pipelines and refineries
  • The recession and less driving
  • More efficient cars
  • Use of ethanol in gasoline
  • A glut of gasoline
  • Speculation.

Most of these things should decrease the cost of gasoline, but it hasn’t worked out that way. Speculation reflects what oil traders believe the market will bear.

Domestic crude oil mostly comes from Texas, Alaska, California, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and smaller amounts from a number of other states.

Peak production from these areas was reached about 1970 and has been decreasing since.

However, oil production recently has been increasing in the Williston Basin of North Dakota. This oil comes from tight shale that requires fracking (like shale gas reservoirs), and production has increased to nearly 500,000 barrels a day and is continuing to increase. Because of pipeline limitations, this oil has difficulty getting to Gulf Coast refineries, some of the largest and most efficient in the world. Consequently these refineries utilize more imported oil (~$105-$110 a barrel), which increases the cost of gasoline in the Gulf area. At the same time, because of a lack of pipeline capacity, oil from North Dakota (~$83 a barrel) has accumulated in Oklahoma and the Midwest creating a glut keeping the price of the gasoline there and in the Rocky Mountain west lower compared with other parts of the country.

The Keystone XL pipeline as proposed by the builder, TransCanada, would allow Canadian tar-sand oil to reach Gulf Coast refineries; some of it is currently being refined in the Midwest. If large volumes of this oil reach the Gulf, much of it and refined products are likely to be exported into higher-priced global markets, so would have little affect on local gasoline prices. On the other hand, if the glut of oil in Oklahoma is reduced or eliminated, prices will likely increase in the Midwest and Rockies. Unless most of the Canadian oil is guaranteed to be used internally and not exported, it appears that this pipeline is unneeded. Even so, TransCanada has just announced that it will build the southern segment of this pipeline from Oklahoma to the Houston area regardless of status of the pipeline as a whole being reviewed by EPA.

Interestingly, a different pipeline plan might serve the purpose of reducing Oklahoma’s oil glut. Owners of the Seaway pipeline are planning in June to reverse its present northward flow from the Gulf, to southward flow from Oklahoma. The capacity of this pipeline (150,000 barrels per day up to 400,000 barrels per day later) probably is sufficient only for North Dakota production, not Canadian oil.

What can government do to balance the system and avoid boom and bust cycles (abrupt changes in price). Not much. With a global market, an individual importing country has little chance of setting crude oil prices. These can change quickly over international tensions and immediately affect the cost of gasoline. In the U.S., producing and refining companies will sell their product to the highest bidder domestically or internationally. Government can restrict exports, but this is not likely to happen. Nixon set price controls on gasoline at the pump in the early 70’s, but this wasn’t especially successful and won’t happen now. Oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve might help lower gasoline prices, but I believe only under some kind of price control. The best option might be to support local or regional pipelines that would help even supply and demand.

The environmental implications of all of this are another story.

Main Sources: (Google: “us oil exports 2011”)

1. Oil boomlet sweeps U.S. as exports and production rise; USA Today, 12/19/2011 (source of the

first three charts)

2. Gasoline: The new big U.S. export; CNN, 12/5/2011

3. The dis-United States of gas prices: Why fuel is so cheap in Denver; The Atlantic, 2/23/2012

4. Why the Keystone pipeline would boost pump prices; The bottom line on MSNBC; 2/27/2012

(source for the last chart)