On January 19, 2001 as Bush was taking office, the spot price for a barrel of Cushing West Texas Intermediate (WTI), the benchmark for domestically produced oil, was $32.12. Seven years later on January 18, 2008, it was $90.55 a 182% increase, and this as with the following examples was after a period of price declines.
A more general measure of US crude oil is a weighted US spot price which takes into account oil imports.
- For the week of January 19, 2001, this price was $23.59/barrel.
- For that of January 18, 2008, it was $85.36, a 262% increase.
As for gasoline, conventional regular retailed:
- For the week of January 22, 2001 at $1.46 a gallon.
- For the week of January 21, 2008 at $2.99, a 105% increase.
Many parts of the country use reformulated regulars which contain anti-pollution additives.
- For the week of January 22, 2001, this price was $1.51 a gallon.
- For the week of January 21, 2008, it was $3.07, a 104% increase.
There are several reasons for these price increases: a bumbling, warmongering foreign policy, a weak dollar, the lack of any real energy policy, hedge fund driven speculation, and various machinations by the oil companies. Curiously, the imminence of peak oil and demand outstripping supply has only played a minor role in price run ups as of early 2008.