Gas prices continues to soar |

Gas prices continues to soar

With crude oil prices reaching nearly $67 a barrel expect gas prices to continue to rise in the future, Petrox Resources Inc. President Mike Clark said.

“I don’t see anything in the future to bring the prices down unless the economy slows down and that wouldn’t be good,” he said. “Gas prices are a function of world oil price. It’s not set here in the United States. It’s set by world price.”

Clark said prices in the United States have started and continued to rise when countries like China and India moved toward industrialism.

This, he said, creates competition.

“We’re competing with the Chinese to buy that crude,” he said. “That’s why the price is up.”

According to the AAA Web site,, the national average for a price of unleaded gas is $2.413 a gallon — 55 cents more than last year. The average price in Colorado is $2.367 — 46 cents higher than last year.

Most stations in Craig are charging $2.699 for regular unleaded.

Tom Mast, author of Over A Barrel: A Simple Guide to the Oil Shortage, said high gas prices are something that have been coming for a while.

“Our production of oil in the United States is down over 40 percent,” he said. “The same thing is going to happen to the worldwide production. I generally tell people gas prices are not the problem. The production of oil is the problem.”

Prices of gas are affected by terrorism, oil tanker accidents and oil refinery productions, Mast said.

A big portion of why gas prices and crude oil have seen a hike, Clark said, is reluctance of people to invest in new American refineries.

Citing increased environmental laws, Clark said new refineries are “not a smart economic venture.”

“Refinery capacity is in short supply,” he said. “It’s unattractive for people to build refineries here because of the regulations. The regulations are always changing.”

Clark’s company does oil and gas exploration and development and he said for him to get a permit to use it could take anywhere from one to seven years. Ten years ago, it took three months.

“With the domestic picture, it’s difficult to access federal land because of the intense regulations,” he said.

Currently, Clark said the United States imports 10 million barrels of crude oil a day. Most of the oil is shipped in from the Middle East, Canada and Venezuela.

The United States’ dependency on foreign oil combined with the environmental regulations, are what make the gas prices so high, Clark said.

“Because of federal government, state government and county regulations it creates a huge expense and huge delay and unfortunately creates higher price for the consumer,” he said.

“It’s not due to price gouging — it’s due to supply and demand.”

For one Craig consumer, the rising gas prices are just something she will have to deal with.

“I’ve just got to pay them,” Charlotte Gariner said. “We haven’t gone on any trips because of it. You just got to plan with it I guess.”

Mast said he hopes America will look seriously at the problem and do something to address it.

“We can solve technological and social problems if we put our minds to it,” he said.

He also said gas prices are unpredictable, but if recent trends mean anything, expect higher prices.

“We can’t control prices, but we can look at the at the trends and realize they’re going upward.

Clark thinks it’s a given prices will rise.

“I think you’ll see $70 a barrel crude with the way the demand is,” he said.

“I think it will happen very quickly, maybe within the next couple of months you could see it.”

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