Experts Blame Middle East for Hike in Gas and Crude Oil Prices
by Victor Lopez
NewsWest 9

There's a solution to the problem, right here in West Texas, but it can't be touched.

Not since 2008, have gas prices soared like they have recently.  That's when crude oil was selling for over $100 per barrel and a gallon of gas was $4 plus.

According to Oil and Gas Consultant Morris Burns, "We have got a lot of oil, that our federal government forbids us to drill for."

Burns says it's an emotional, rumor-driven market and it's over reacting to the situation in the Middle East, where Libya produces about 1.6 million barrels of oil per day.

"The U.S. doesn't import any oil from Libya, we haven't for years. But Europe gets a lot of oil from Libya. So if Europe can't get oil from Libya, then they are in a bidding war for the oil from other countries," Burns explained.

The war on the market is taking it's toll on drivers all over the U.S.  Burns says we have a solution to the problem right here at home, "We are forbidden to drill anywhere off the East Coast, the Gulf Coast. If we were able to produce out of these areas, it would lessen this spike by a great deal."

All this unrest is causing a domino effect. As the price of oil goes up, so does the price of gas and transportation and everything else.

School districts across Texas are already facing rough times. Now, they have one more thing to add to the list.

According to E.C.I.S.D. Transportation Director David Morris, "We face, as a school district, the same thing as many families do, as they deal with the rising fuel prices.  Except it's multiplied many times over because we have over 400 vehicles in our school fleet. There's one thing we don't have much choice in, we've got to get the kids to school. We're going to have to adjust our budget accordingly, so we can have the money to buy the fuel to get our kids to and from school."

Burns adds, the economy is also at the mercy of the current situation, "If it doesn't get any higher than this and doesn't stay up for any extended period of time, it will probably have very little effect. If it gets worse and stays up for three or four months, it will have a big effect."

As for the future, only time will tell.

"It could go either way and, like I say, the market will over react, whichever way it goes.  It's going to over react," Burns added.