I watched the news last night. I KNOW! impressive! well, for me at least.
Anyhow, common misconception of the American people: Gas is expensive. Gas is NOT expensive here. Europeans are paying an equivalent of about $6 a gallon. Canadians are paying about $4 a gallon. Prices generally aren't given for African and South American countries because not a whole heck of a lot of people buy gas or diesel, and those that do tend to have an option of buying a bio-fuel of some sort. The only countries actively paying less than us are the middle east countries (they do have the most oil), Venezuela (has the 2nd greatest amount of oil--Venezuela is actually the number 2 supplier of oil for the US), and China, who is subsidizing the price of oil and so the government is going hugely in debt and is wanting to stop the subsidizing.
BUT, the interesting stuff:
-People currently aren't concerned about Venezuela--or really even know all that much about it right now--mostly because it's not in the news. Iran/Iraq is/are more important. But the news with Venezuela: Hugo Chavez (the president) hates George Bush. He loves Fidel Castro. He does whatever Fidel tells him to do. Chavez is currently passing out rifles to his people and telling them to learn to use them because they may have to use them against the Americans when they invade the country to steal the oil.
-The president may want to open ANWR to oil drilling (hey, it's been a debate since Clinton's first administration). The problem with this: Unless the fuel consumption standards on automobiles are changed, ANWR will only supply enough fuel for about 5, possibly 10 years. Back in 2002 (when I did a bunch of research for this), it was thought that ANWR had some oil, but not a lot. It was surmised that if the standard of fuel consumption for cars was increased from 27 to 36 mpg, it would end up saving the amount of fuel that was available in ANWR.
-Playboy ran an article last month (which was a reprint from a Canadian magazine) about how the US made the assumption that they'd be able to get oil from Iraq, but the problem was that Saddam didn't ever really actively drill for oil and so in order for the US to get any oil from Iraq, they'd have to re-build the entire infrastructure first. Iran, on the other hand, has a great oil drilling system. and as such, it was surmised that the US would use the same excuse (WMD's) to go after Iran.
-Oil companies in the US have posted an average of a 48% profit for their 1st quarter standings. 48% profit--this is a 31% increase over the same time last year. what this REALLY means: the price of the fuel you are currently buying is more expensive than last summer because the oil companies want to make a larger profit.