"The Saudis Are Concerned That Today's Record [oil] Prices Might Eventually Damp Economic Growth and Lead to Lower Oil Demand"
Yeah, that sucks. But hey, they're banking billions while they count worry beads. And increasing production by half a million barrels of crude per day won't exactly hurt Saudi income. PLUS it wins the Saudis friends in the U.S., which still has a couple of aircraft carrier groups here and there. The New York Times reports that the reported increase comes on top of another reported increase. "Saudi Arabia is currently pumping 9.45 million barrels a day, which is an increase of about 300,000 barrels from last month." The Times theorizes that the Saudis largesse is based on the possibility of diminished demand (as above) and the threat that "current prices are also making alternative fuels more viable, threatening the long-term prospects of the oil-based economy." Yes, well, the increase will add one percent to world oil supplies. Meanwhile, The Gray Lady claims bipartisan Congressional support is "growing" for a bill allowing the Justice Department to "engage in antitrust proceedings" against OPEC accusing them of "curbing supplies to drive up prices." Good luck with that.
M1EK -- the part you continue not to understand is that a small increase in output can cause a large drop in price. You do not need to double output to halve the price -- it doesn't work that way. Could be a 1% or 2% increase in output (or fall in demand) will trigger an absolute crash in the oil market. If OPEC does have excess capacity and is constraining supply thanks to cartel discipline (I dunno, but neither do you), then the mere fear that oil prices will start falling could trigger a avalanche as OPEC producers try to grab all the money they can before oil gets too cheap. BTW the idea that Congress will give itself the authority to police other countries' governments engaging in "antitrust" activity is silly.
Stein X Leikanger, The GOP had congress in 1994. The wanted to open ANWR up to exploratory drilling but Clinton vetoed it. Given the 10 year time frame it takes to bring oil resources on-line we could have had oil production there since 2004. From 2002-2006 votes to open ANWR were blocked by Democrat filibuster in the Senate. Oh and the environment is just fine. ABC reported that long term the air and water in the US and Canada has been getting cleaner as time goes by. You have to ask yourself a question, if the oil companies want the price to be high, why would they want to drill for new sources, that would eventually lower the price. So I don't think it's a conspiracy on the oil companies part. They want to make sure they have a product to sell. Kevin is right about the effects on price for a small increase in supply for something with an inelastic demand like oil. But it may not be just a small in increase in supply. China is drilling for oil off the coast of Florida (where we aren't allowed to!) and Chevron has discovered a large deposit in the Gulf of Mexico. And Brazil has just discoverd what may be a huge find of oil off the coast of there country. If you add ANWR to thses finds you could find oil back in the low $3 range eventually. This won't mean SUV's will be king of the road again, but it will help us to adjust to higer gas prices thru conservation, alternative fuels, and more efficient autos.
Stein, The majority the GOP had was not wide. The democrats could, and often did, use the modern, wussy filibuster rules to hold up lots of stuff. The other problem was that many of the GOP candidates were what were called RINO's, or Republican's in Name Only. However, what exactly have been the terrible ecological outcomes of the period you mentioned? I couldn't care less about what laws were, or were not passed, let's talk about reality and results. Seems to me that the US has been doing better than most of the world.
M1EK, The problem with your fungible argument is that domestic US production will reduce price fears because it is dependable. It also means that the US military has access to that oil, which adds global stability to the whole market. Don't underestimate how important US involvement is on both ends of the equation. Otherwise, you will, and have, overstate your case.