Investment

Falling investment won’t affect today’s oil prices | LETTER

Your May 23 editorial about 1970s-style gas lines erred in arguing that falling investment contributes to today’s prices.

Investment for crude oil production applies to future production, not today’s production. Worse was claiming that falling investment has caused crude production to drop under President Joe Biden. U.S. crude production for the year beginning March 2021 averaged 11,472 barrels per day. During the Trump administration, this yearly average was exceeded once, and the four-year average was lower at 11,026 barrels per day.

The mention of long lines for gasoline in the 1970s failed to include the crude shortage caused by the Arab oil embargo, which quadrupled the crude price from the 1972 average. I was living in Lexington, Kentucky, in 1974 when the embargo was lifted and cannot recall waiting in line for gasoline. Living near the university and choosing to walk to work might have been the reason: If there were a line, I had the option to try later.

President Richard Nixon’s failed price controls were treading on new peace-time ground, and he may have tried to do too much too soon to help the general population. However, because economic pressures alone were not allowed to solve the problem, unknown is whether these could have solved the gas station line problem without increasing the price to a level only the wealthy could have paid.


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