Skier, we certainly shouldn't expect sympathy from you. gasoline is amazingly cheap here in the US. i think most of us are complaining because the price increase is sudden and steep. i'm personally unhappy because the money is going into the oil companie's overstuffed purses. i wouldn't mind if it was going into the tax base.
A few weekends ago, I paid $2.99 for a gallon (US) of Regular 87 octane from a lone Texaco station on HWY 1 somwhere north of San Simeon.. it was the only gas station for miles.. and I only needed a few gallons.. I did feel sorry for the motorhome that was filling up its multiple tanks though...
the prices now in the South Bay / Peninsula are about $2.10 - $2.15 a gallon for 87 Octane (PON).
I wonder what astronomical number the price of gas would have to rise to, so that people would quit driving and would buy motorcycles to commute with...
Don't worry... OPEC is screwed. Iraq has massive oil production capacity... prices will return to normal before too long. I don't know if they are really the problem, though... it's the US Oil companies that want the prices high. If you notice the prices increase during car travel peak periods every year... Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day. Like clockwork.
Not so fast. There are some heavily armed groups that don't want to see that happen.
Also, Fortune printed a scenario earlier this year. Saudi Arabia decides to teach Iraq a lesson, and floods the world with oil. The price is lowered temporarily, depriving Iraq of the profits it needs to get going again. (The Iraqi oilfields haven't seen investment since, oh, 1990.) Then Saudi Arabia can raise the price at will.
Would they do this? Why not? We would cheer the Saudis as "partners in freedom," and who cares about the Iraqis. Meanwhile Saudi Arabia defends the status quo against the very threat you described. Iraq, having the world's second-largest proven reserves, is a future challenge to Saudi control; this is Saudi Arabia's chance to nip it in the bud for years to come.
To answer the original question, premium's $1.85 a gal here in the mid-Atlantic states. Don't remember what regular is, since I pretty much stopped driving the cage before the war.