published Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

Libya, Gadhafi, gas prices

In our highly connected world, what happens in some faraway, seemingly unimportant nation can affect us all.

Libya is undergoing violent upheaval that may overthrow that country's government. That has major implications for the entire Middle East as well as lesser but still important implications for all of our pocketbooks because of the effect the upheaval will have on oil and gasoline prices.

We Americans are heavily dependent on cars and therefore on gasoline. So we feel it when gas prices rise. While we produce quite a bit of oil, and thus quite a bit of gasoline, inside the United States, gasoline supply and demand throughout the rest of the world also affect our prices.

Have you noticed that oil prices have suddenly jumped to more than $93 for a 42-gallon barrel? And the crude oil price on the London market has jumped to $106 a barrel this week. Obviously, "something" is happening that is affecting world oil prices.

One such "something" is the political instability in Libya. But what's Libya to us?

It is a big, mostly desert country of only 6.5 million people in North Africa, on the Mediterranean Sea, west of Egypt. But it is a huge oil producer and a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (remember OPEC?). Libya sells about 80 percent of its 1.7 million-barrel daily oil production to Europe.

But now there is massive political turmoil in Libya, directly affecting oil supplies to Europe and indirectly affecting our oil and gasoline prices in the United States, too.

Libya has been ruled with an iron hand by Moammar Gadhafi for about four decades. Libya was behind the 1988 Pan Am Flight 103 bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland. That attack killed 270 people, including 189 Americans.

Gadhafi has been relatively quiet lately. But now, he is defiantly declaring that he will stay in power no matter the cost. He has furiously urged his backers in Libya to fight the protesters who are seeking his ouster.

It remains to be seen whether Libya will remain a dictatorship, and what the turmoil there may do to the balance of power in the region.

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acerigger said...

One question, has the U.S. been "propping up" this monster too? Like we did Mubarak in Egypt,or the dictator Selah in Yemen,or the king in Bahrain,the Saud family, or the corrupt governments of Columbia,Guatamala,Mexico?(and the list goes on) Our efforts to be an "Empire" are causing us to become feared and hated around the world.

February 23, 2011 at 1:13 a.m.
acerigger said...

Oops,sorry, I forgot this is all about GAS PRICES.

February 23, 2011 at 1:15 a.m.
librul said...

Saying that ANY nation is "unimportant to us" reveals the undercurrent of arrogance and hubris fostered by the Reaganites, Bushistas and right wing pundits over the last two decades that has made the rest of the world hostile to America. And now that corporations virtually own our government, it is apparent that neither party can be held exempt from blame for it. This is a situation only the people can rectify.

February 23, 2011 at 12:40 p.m.
holdout said...

Libya has been at war with the US for 200 years. You can't blame either party for that. It wouldn't matter what we did or didn't do they would always be hostile to us. If a US ship landed there tomorrow and gave everyone in the country a solid gold car and a new puppy they would find a way to attack us for it. Reagan may not have endeared us to them but he made them stop blowing up our troops in Europe. I remember when I had to call MP and bomb squad every time a fire extinguisher was out of place. And the not inconsiderable number of people killed and maimed at the behest of Gadhafi. The US cannot afford to be a world player. We are broke. We need to pull every military person we have in other countries back to the US...now. We need to simply stay out of other country's business. If they slaughter their own people and feed them to wolves we should let them. If the people want to change their government we should give them a hearty and sincere, "good luck" and watch. And if we are attacked we should respond with a a short and very overwhelming military, political and economic strike and tell them to find someone else to pick on.

February 24, 2011 at 8:51 a.m.
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