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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 30, 2004

Schumer: President Should Demand That Opec Increase Oil Supply At Crucial Meeting Tomorrow- Could Bring Upstate Ny Gas Prices Down

With gas prices at record highs, new Schumer report shows average Upstate New York family could pay nearly $400 more for gas this year

Schumer urges President to demand that the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) increase – not decrease – the supply of oil in the market; OPEC is meeting tomorrow to decide whether to reduce or bolster its supply

Average Capit

With gas prices in upstate New York at their highest of all time, US Senator Charles E. Schumer today released a report showing that New York families with two cars could see their gas bills shoot up nearly $400 over last year if prices remain this high. To keep prices from skyrocketing even further, Schumer urged the President to demand that the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) increase – not decrease – the supply of oil in the market when it has its crucial meeting tomorrow to set its policy for the year.

"I've been cris-crossing this state over the last month, and everywhere you go the refrain is the same: gas prices are way too high," Schumer said. "We asked the President to release oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to lower the prices and he said no. Now OPEC, which controls almost half of the world's oil, is meeting tomorrow to decide whether to add more oil to the world's supply. If the President wants to do something about prices at the pump, here is a no-brainer -- push OPEC to increase that supply."

OPEC is meeting tomorrow in Vienna to decide whether to proceed with its February 10 decision to reduce its supply of oil. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates the current eleven OPEC members account for almost 40% of world oil production and about 2/3 of the world's proven oil reserves. OPEC members' national oil ministers meet regularly to discuss prices and set crude oil production quotas. On February 10, OPEC decided to lower its production quota from 24.5 million barrels per day to 23.5 million barrels per day, effective April 1. If the production of oil decreases, many experts believe that gas prices will continue to climb.

Schumer today released a new analysis of how record high gas prices in upstate New York could cripple families in each county of the state. According to the report, if gas prices continue to increase at its current level (27 cents per gallon over the last eight months), the cost for a year's supply of gasoline would go up nearly $400 for the average family, specifically:

• The average Capital Region family with 2 cars could pay $428 more in gas bills this year if prices stay this high; • The average Central New York family with 2 cars could pay $410 more in gas bills this year if prices stay this high; • The average Rochester/Finger Lakes family with 2 cars could pay $320 more in gas bills this year if prices stay this high; • The average Hudson Valley family with 2 cars could pay $308 more in gas bills this year if prices stay this high; • The average North Country family with 2 cars could pay $410 more in gas bills this year if prices stay this high; • The average Southern Tier family with 2 cars could pay $408 more in gas bills this year if prices stay this high; • The average Western New York family with 2 cars could pay $352 more in gas bills this year if prices stay this high.

[For county-by-county breakdowns please see attached report.]

Schumer today urged the President to demand that OPEC reverse its decision to decrease the oil supply and instead increase it so that gas prices can go down.“We simply cannot allow our economy, and the world's economy, to be placed in jeopardy by a foreign oil cartel," Schumer wrote with other senators in a letter today to the President. "Accordingly, we urge you to aggressively pressure OPEC to forgo its planned production cuts and to increase global oil supply.”

OPEC was founded in Iraq in September 1960 to unify and coordinate members' petroleum policies. Original OPEC members included Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela. Between 1960 and 1975, the organization expanded to include Qatar, Indonesia, Libya, the United Arab Emirates, Algeria, and Nigeria. Although Iraq remains a member of OPEC, Iraqi production has not been a part of any OPEC quota agreements since March 1998.

Please see attached report.

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