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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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RE: "We don't want the West to go and find alternatives"
By KFZ on 5/30/2011 12:31:18 PM , Rating: -1
It's people like you that think low MPG cars cause high gas prices that is the real idiocy here. Sluggish economy, annual population increase, people in higher MPG cars that end up driving *more* because they feel they can...

No, you know what, you're right, it's entirely the guy in the Jeep's fault that gas is $4/gallon. But I guess everyone needs to take a "fair share" and shouldn't hog the resources, eh? You might as well tell an obese person to diet so food prices will go down.

I refuse to believe some people have high school diplomas here.

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.

"If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion." -- Scientology founder L. Ron. Hubbard

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