You’ve probably noticed at the pumps that the price of gas has been creeping back up. The average price of a gallon of regular is $2.74, which is about 32 cents higher than a year ago. The rise is largely due to a deal by OPEC to restrict oil output to try to force the price of crude back up, although there are some other secondary factors, such as geopolitical tensions with Russia and Iran, and a steep drop in Venezuelan oil production (the miracle of socialism!) The cost of a barrel of Brent crude is up to $73, and OPEC hopes to get it to $80 to $100.
But President Trump served notice yesterday that OPEC no longer controls the oil market. He tweeted, “Looks like OPEC is at it again. With record amounts of Oil all over the place, including the fully loaded ships at sea, Oil prices are artificially Very High! No good and will not be accepted!” Behold the power of a Trump tweet: the price of Brent crude immediately dropped by three-quarters of a percentage point.
Trump has been removing many Obama-era restrictions on the domestic energy industry, with US oil production expected to surpass 12 million barrels a day by 2019, making the US the world’s top oil producer, which should put a big damper on OPEC’s ability to manipulate prices. In 2012, President Obama again displayed his enviable talent for saying patently absurd things in a way that makes them sound like unquestionable wisdom when he declared that “We can’t just drill our way to lower gas prices.” At that time, the average price of a gallon of gas was $3.64 ($3.80 in today’s dollars.) So to answer Obama’s quote with another of his quotes: “Yes, we can!”
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