However, November's crude closed the week at $66.24 per barrel, down from $67 five days earlier. The price of oil is up from $37.36 per barrel in April 2004, an increase of 77 percent in 17 months.
With two hurricanes having hit the Gulf coast region of the United States during the past four weeks, oil production in the states has experienced an unprecedented (although only temporary) decline in production.
Less temporary however, personal income --after taxes-- fell in August by 0.5 percent. Consumer revolving debt rose to $805,000,000,000.00 in July (the most recent reporting cycle by the Federal Reserve.) Factoring inflation into personal income, worker's wages for the year in the United States have slipped into the red.
The answer to solving the nation's problems came from the White House on 26 September. President George W Bush told residents of the United States to drive less and embrace conservation in order to reduce the nation's demand for oil.
President Bush said "excessive" regulations in past administrations discouraged oil companies from expanding post-1977, and thus new legislation would forever end expansion restrictions of refineries.
President Bush said he would direct all federal agencies to conserve energy and that he would release more oil from the nation's strategic petroleum reserve. The president also proposed new legislation, which he expects Congress will promptly approve.
The Republican controlled Congress moved ahead to approve tax breaks to oil companies to increase corporate re-investment in new refinery construction and expansion. Some measures and tax breaks were removed from the energy bill [Read] President Bush signed in August.
Oil companies may now write-off their first year of operation expenses, the cost of building a refinery, or those expenses incurred as a result of storm damage along the Gulf Coast. In order to qualify for the tax break, oil companies must show an improvement of production by at least 5 percent.
The bill also approves the use of recently closed military bases as oil production facilities.
Effective immediately, the Department of Homeland Security is allowing (under the Jones Act) foreign ships transport waivers in order to move oil between ports in the United States.
The Environmental Protection Agency approved waivers to relax gasoline rules (for blending out impurities) and dropped diesel fuel restrictions. While the measure is temporary, no date was set to expire the relaxed rules.
President Bush said, "by being better conservers of energy, I mean, people just need to recognize that the storms have caused disruption and that if they're able to maybe not drive that would be helpful."
The oil industry has 148 refinery plants at present, which is down from 324 in 1980. Oil companies claim that re-investment capital has paid for complying with stricter environmental standards rather than funding expansion.
The White House said that it reaffirms its commitment to honor a state's right to ban oil production off their coastlines.
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