STATESIDE STORIES: The Many Faces of the Plunging Oil Price

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By Mary Foran


President Obama plans to veto the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico because of its environmental impact and the fact that he believes the oil would be shipped overseas instead of staying in America. Republicans see it as a job-producing project and plan to vote for it.

But both Republicans and Democrats are surprised by one phenomenon: the plunging price of a barrel of crude oil, which is affecting world markets as we speak.

Oil producers, including the OPEC countries, have to deal with the approximate $60 dollars a barrel that is producing $2.20 cent a gallon of gasoline at the pumps in the United States, and lower prices the world over.Ordinary commuters are delighted with the plunging prices for gasoline, and pundits say the lower prices will be a great stimulus for the U.S. economy. Others warn that it could lead to a loss of jobs in the industry and elsewhere.

But since driving is almost essential in the vastness of the U.S., the lower prices for gasoline can only be good news for the average consumer. It puts money in the public’s pocket for spending on other items or even for putting in a savings account for future purchases or retirement.

Some of the newer cars and trucks get 30 to 40 miles per gallon while some of the older vehicles on the road only get 15 to 20, but the new prices are welcomed by all. The lower prices mean that goods transported by road cost less to get to market, thus saving the consumer money at the point of purchase. This stimulates spending and the economy grows.

But OPEC could decide to cut back on production to drive the price of a barrel up again; so far they have held back on that course of action. Still, at some point the price of oil would have to be stabilized to make it profitable for oil-producing nations to play. That is why people are enjoying the lower prices while they can, and hoping they won’t shoot up again.

So, maybe it’s time for a road-trip across America. As the old advertisment chimed: See the U.S.A. in your Chevrolet! Or Ford, or Buick, or VW bug or…