(Image: treehugger.com)

Overnight, oil prices jumped $4 to nearly $127 per barrel -- but that's still down from the highs of a few weeks ago.

It’s a battle over hearts and minds. And oil. President Bush urged Congress to vote to on allowing oil drilling off American coastal waters, prompting spars over what’s causing fuel prices to rise. Democrats say it's speculators. Republicans say it’s all about demand.

"The Takeaway's" Adaora Udoji and John Hockenberry talk to Lisa Margonelli -- she writes about the global culture and economy of energy, and is the author of "Oil On the Brain: Petroleum's Long Strange Trip to Your Tank."

Margonelli says the vote in Congress for off shore drilling is not likely to happen, and President Bush's announcement about lifting the executive ban on off shore drilling is just politics -- drilling is popular with voters when oil prices are high.

According to Margonelli, "There was a time when the U.S. had a lot of strategies in place to really buffer prices ... one of them was refinery inventory, and one of them was strategic petroleum reserve, and one was our relationship with Saudi Arabia, one was a real strong emphasis on energy efficiency. We basically kind of lost all of that -- partly because of changes in the oil market, partly because we just let things slide. So ... we need to realize that we don't control price; until we put some policies in place that are really going to buffer those, we don't really have that much influence. Our main influence is taking our foot off the gas."

"The Takeaway" is PRI's new national morning news program, delivering the news and analysis you need to catch up, start your day, and prepare for what’s ahead. The show is a co-production of WNYC and PRI, in editorial collaboration with the BBC, The New York Times Radio, and WGBH.

More at thetakeaway.org

Related Stories