Long called black gold, crude oil is the essential ingredient fueling the global economy. But the boom in Asia is putting new pressures on the oil stocks, and prices everywhere are hitting record levels. Here in America, drivers and consumers are watching the numbers rise and wondering if the increase in the cost of gas and oil might be all it might take to skewer an already struggling economy.
This week, OPEC ministers are expected to tighten the spigot and let prices rise even higher. And while a worried Bush administration fills up its own reserves and waits for oil from Africa, Russia and Iraq to start flowing, some are saying the only way out of the OPEC stranglehold is to get serious about a gas tax. Saying goodbye to cheap oil.
Philip Verleger, visting fellow at the Institute for International Economics
Paul Roberts, Harpers writer and author.