Man the world is a poppin.
Gasoline is a commodity that everyone needs. Commodity prices rise when there is turbulence in the world. Boy is there turbulence in the world today.
Gasoline is refined from crude oil, and the cost of crude oil on the global market has climbed significantly. On Monday (3/7) West Texas Intermediate (WTI) oil closed out the trading day at $105.44, which was the highest price in 29 months. Yesterday (3/8), the price fell slightly to $105.02. Brent crude oil, which is another benchmark crude, has traded at higher price points.
The sharp price run-up led the EIA late yesterday to raise its 2011 average oil price estimate to $105 a barrel, adding that there is a 25 percent chance that gasoline could surpass $4.00 by this summer’s driving season. EIA attributed the higher prices to the continuing “unrest in Libya as well as other North African and Middle Eastern countries [which] has led to the highest crude oil prices since 2008….”
As we’ve explained on this blog, political turmoil is one of the factors that can influence the price of oil.
I would be remiss of course if I did not update the nuclear situation in Japan. First I think my ground rules from yesterday are holding, but we shall see. The Japenese are either being really really smart or are endangering us all. What I see is a third hydrogen explosion which damaged a reactor containment capsule and a fire in a 4th reactor’s spent fuel pond. This is NOT the same as a breach in the containment capsule nor is the same as a continuous release of radioactive toxins. The pond fire, the result of sloppy work, caused the radiation spike and the evacuation of most personnel. They are rotating operators into the control rooms to reduce their exposure to that radiation. But the Japanese leaders are making it look like Armageddon to the outside world.
March 15, 2011, 9:01 am
Latest Updates on Japan’s Nuclear Crisis and Earthquake AftermathBy ROBERT MACKEY
After a 6.2 magnitude earthquake struck about 70 miles southwest of Tokyo on Tuesday night, Japanese officials told the International Atomic Energy Agency that reactors at a plant near the epicenter remained in operation.
The I.A.E.A. Incident and Emergency Center reported after the new earthquake:
The Hamaoka nuclear power plant is sited an estimated 100 kilometers (60 miles) from the epicenter. I.E.C. confirmed with Japan that the plant continues to operate safely.
Units 1 and 2 are decommissioned, Unit 3 is under inspection and not operational, and Units 4 and 5 remain in safe operational status after the earthquake.
A team of experts from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has been dispatched to Japan to provide technical advice to Japanese engineers trying to halt the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Station, where four reactors were damaged as a result of the earthquake and tsunami.
According to a statement on the regulatory commission’s Web site, 11 American experts will take part in the mission:
The NRC has sent nine additional experts to Tokyo to provide assistance as requested by the Japanese government. Acting as part of a U.S. Agency for International Development assistance team, the NRC has dispatched the experts to Tokyo to provide assistance as requested by the Japanese government.
More, if there is a tomorrow.