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Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal  (Source: Forbes)
Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal wants oil prices in the $70 to $80/barrel range

Gas prices in the United States have been taking a decidedly downward turn in the past month (down 20 cents in three weeks from a national average of $3.97 per gallon to the current $3.78 per gallon). However, gas prices are still much higher than a year ago when the national average was $2.74 per gallon according to GasBuddy.

There are some that are calling for lower oil prices to help ease prices for consumers, and those calls are coming from an unlikely source. Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, whose country is one of the founding members of OPEC, wants to see oil prices drop dramatically. In fact, Talal wants to see prices fall down to roughly $70 to $80 per barrel (current prices are hovering around $100 per barrel).

Talal's reasoning for wanting lower prices comes from an increasing interest from countries like the United States and global auto manufacturers to develop vehicles that don't require gasoline or diesel fuel to operate. 

"We don't want the West to go and find alternatives," said Talal in an interview with CNN's Fareed Zakaria. "Because, clearly, the higher the price of oil goes, the more they have incentives to go and find alternatives."

President Obama is pushing for federal agencies to ditch large, fuel hungry vehicles like Suburbans and Tahoes for more fuel-efficient compact and subcompact cars wherever possible. The U.S. government fleet is also taking baby steps with purchases of the all-electric Nissan Leaf and the partial electric vehicles like the Chevrolet Volt.

And for the full-size SUVs that are still needed in the government fleet, the Obama Administration wants increased use of E85 fuel that would further lessen our dependence on foreign oil sources to sustain our transportation needs. 

The overarching goal, however, is for automakers to develop vehicles that can travel much further on a gallon of gasoline, boosting CAFE averages to 35.5 mpg by 2016. This move will come by manufacturers producing more vehicles that achieve 40 mpg or higher, and by stepping up the efforts with electric vehicles like the Ford Focus Electric and the Tesla Model S

So it should come as no surprise that Talal doesn't want to see the U.S. gravy train come to an end.  If everyone is driving around in 50-mpg vehicles, there will be less of a need for foreign oil. If everyone is driving around in electric vehicles, well OPEC is in serious trouble. 

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"We don't want the West to go and find alternatives"
By sh3rules on 5/30/2011 8:56:19 AM , Rating: -1
And we don’t want alternatives, we want to keep driving our Suburbans. Anything else is socialism.

By Saldrin on 5/30/2011 9:32:59 AM , Rating: 1
I see what you're doing there.

I love my jeep, and yes I do get 16 mpg. But I pay for it, not you and I'm all right with that.

By Jeffk464 on 5/30/2011 9:52:36 AM , Rating: 3
Well I'm sure the Saudi Prince is grateful. Your jeep probably paid for him to add another girl to his harem for the year. :)

By spread on 5/30/2011 6:41:02 PM , Rating: 2
Are you kidding? That barely pays for caviar and champagne.

By MadMan007 on 5/30/2011 10:04:55 AM , Rating: 4
As a matter of fact, no, other drivers do pay for you driving a vehicle with poor fuel economy. In a market driven by supply and demand, when demand is higher due to poor efficiency vehicles like all the single-passenger commuter SUVs I see, it raises prices for everyone. Therefore, I am paying for people like you who drive low efficiency vehicles.

By NullSubroutine on 5/30/2011 1:18:59 PM , Rating: 3
And when the government wants to switch to tax per mile to recoup all the lost tax dollars on cents per gallon after everyone is getting 50MPG, I'm sure you are going to be second guessing being mad at those with large vehicles who was subsidizing your reduced tax bill...

By tayb on 5/30/2011 11:21:01 AM , Rating: 5
No, we all pay for your idiocy. Ever heard of supply and demand? People like yourself think you live in a bubble where your actions have absolutely no consequences upon anyone or anything but yourself. You're wrong. Your idiotic desire to throw your own money out of the window to inflate your ego by driving a tank effects EVERYONE. You increase demand, you waste more fuel, and everyone around you feels it at the pump.

This is America, however, and if you want to be a stingy bastard needlessly wastes fuel to inflate your ego you certainly have the right to do so. And you've held nothing back making sure we were aware of that right as well.

Carry on. We all reap what we sow.

RE: "We don't want the West to go and find alternatives"
By KFZ on 5/30/11, Rating: -1
By BZDTemp on 5/30/2011 2:01:15 PM , Rating: 2
Of course consuming gas influences the prices. It simply supply and demand that is the basic principle of pricing. Politics, taxes and so on may make a difference but it all comes down to supply and demand (look up the gas prices in Venezuela if you need see the other end of the spectrum).

Not that it matters what you believe peak oil, US currency losing value like it does and soon the $4 per gallon is gonna become a fairytale old folks tell their kids.

By spread on 5/30/2011 6:34:09 PM , Rating: 2
Its not simply cars but entire fleet efficiency. How many SUVs, trucks and 18 wheelers are on the road? These all add up to icreased consumption.

One of the reasons is poor city and infrastructure planning. More trains and public transportation options could mean higher efficiency if people choose these options and lower overall prices.

By YashBudini on 5/30/2011 1:34:05 PM , Rating: 2
No, we all pay for your idiocy.

This fiasco is going to be small potatoes compared to the Wall St meltdown. There not only did you pay, you're still paying, and they are discovering how to make crime pay indefinitely, so there will be no end in sight, just new meltdowns every decade or so.

If bin Laden had done what Wall St has accomplished WW III against them would have started. All these guys got was a momentary break from their bonuses and handshakes from the president. How could things be more screwed up than that?

Oil prices never affected people anywhere near as much as unemployment. People should have realized they've been sold down the river when the Supreme Court decided corporations are people too. Clueless bastards.

Your idiotic desire to throw your own money out of the window to inflate your ego by driving a tank effects EVERYONE.

Speaking of clueless you're wasting you time here trying to educate the "freedom invokers" here of interdependence. They fight tooth and nail to remain stagnant and unaware of such concepts.

By GruntboyX on 5/30/2011 9:10:48 PM , Rating: 4
ok, you are assuming this guy drives 60 miles to work one way.

We need to factor our living conditions. He may drive a 16mpg jeep, but if he lives in the country he probably only commutes an average 15 miles a day to work. Thus it makes no economic sense at all for him to change his vehicle, because its paid for and he uses less fuel than someone who lives in SoCal drives 90 minutes one way and uses a Prius. In the end the gentlemen in SoCal uses more energy because his commute is vastly greater than the poor redneck working at the local mill. Not to mention he gets out hits highway speeds and is at work in 15 minutes. The SoCal commuter, gets out crawls and idles. Now Hybrids and Plug in vehicles improve that to a degree, but in no way does it entitle you to be come an elitist and tell someone how to live his life.

This is America, we have fought wars over personal liberty, and fought against the actions for the "greater good". Let him drive his poor jeep. Lets face it... its a jeep at some point he will trade it in due to wear and tear. Even if he gets another "suv" the increase in CAFE standards will ensure that the gas mileage will be improved. And good for him if he can make it last 15 years. It reduces environmental waste from overproduction and lowers carbon emmisions in the end.

I hate comments like yours, because it does nothing to solve the problem and only feeds trolls, and polarizes individuals.

Lets talk about the environmental impact of 30+ million people living in the dessert if you want to continue to be smug.

The solution is not going to be one size fits all.

By Jeffk464 on 5/30/2011 10:41:56 PM , Rating: 2
It doesn't make sense to get a new car to improve mileage. But people are buying new cars all the time so you phase in higher mileage cars.

By RadnorHarkonnen on 5/31/2011 4:27:46 AM , Rating: 2
While supply and demand market laws are still alive, those laws just went out the window. The world produces enough oil to meet demand, and they still have more reserve capacity.

This is more a question of regulating a "free-for-all" market. This isn't a free market anymore. Speculators are all over commodities for a long time now, making our life miserable. Gold, Silver, Oil and many others.In the case of oil, even the arabs think 100$ a barrel is too much. You can't find any other product that everybody (including the initial "manufacturer") that complains that is too expensive.

Welcome to the free-for-all market of Milton Friedman.

By Hiawa23 on 5/30/2011 5:15:49 PM , Rating: 2
many of us don't drive suburbans. I own a 97 honda Civic & an 06 Mitsu Lancer Ralliart, any increases affect me tenfold & many drivers no matter what vehicles they drive. Everything else, plus the cost of living has increased yet incomes have been reduced for many, so it aint just the SUV owners it's all of us. We want alternatives, & unless you know anything else my Honda or Mitsubishi will run off of, for most of us, gas is it, & we are concerned, how do you get gas prices down especially since mainly everything else we consume is made from some sort of oil derivative, & everything from food, to insurance also increases as a result.

By spread on 5/30/2011 6:42:10 PM , Rating: 2
Alternatives and choices are what capitalism is all about.

By Alexvrb on 5/30/2011 9:31:26 PM , Rating: 2
*sniff sniff*
Oh that's some mighty fine Smug you're producing there!
Oh my, smells like you've got a little Strawman mixed in there!

By stimudent on 5/30/2011 11:25:28 PM , Rating: 1
Too late.
The kids that live in my immediate neighborhood have asked me if I know what the carbon output is per year with my Chevy Colorado. On the flip-side, they are fascinated with the 3 Hybrid vehicles that are also nearby... which has in turn made a few senior citizens take a greater interest in the subject. The ball is rolling. And it seems to be a really big one.

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