« November 2008 | Main

December 9, 2008

Gas Price Hit 5-year Low

Gasoline prices have hit a five-year low nationally, as well as in California, the LA Times reported. Analysts are predicting that gas prices could get as low as $1 per gallon.

Crude oil for January delivery increased $2.90 to $43.71 a barrel Monday on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Experts don't see a significant jump in momentum from consumers because of the suffering job market and lower demand for oil.

"The world has changed. I don't see any reason why $1 gasoline isn't possible, and $25-a-barrel oil is not out of the question," Phil Flynn, vice president and senior market analyst for the Alaron Trading Corp. in Chicago told the LA Times. "I don't think the downside is over. There is a lot of surplus oil out there."

In contrast, Fadel Gheit, senior energy analyst for Oppenheimer and Co., is one of the analysts saying that oil won't stay down, even if the historic price drop isn't quite over yet.

He told the LA Times, "Some of the same clowns who were predicting $200-a-barrel oil a few months ago are in the crowd predicting $25 a barrel. But just as we believed that oil above $100 was not sustainable by market fundamentals, oil below $30 isn't sustainable either."

"Even in the midst of this global recession, the world is still using 80 million barrels of oil a day. If production is cut back sharply and the oil companies keep reining in capital spending, it will come back to haunt us," Gheit added, explaining that the global economy would eventually improve and place higher demands on supplies.

Nationally, the average price of self-serve regular gasoline dropped from 11.2 cents to $1.699 a gallon. That was $1.30 below the price in the previous and was the lowest average since the $1.688 the Energy Department recorded on Feb. 23, 2004.

Failed Bomb Attempt in Germany Leads to Life Sentence

One of the men responsible for a failed terrorist attack on commuter trains in Berlin received a life sentence from a German court on Tuesday, the NY Times reported.

Youssef Muhammad el-Hajdib, was convicted on several counts of attempted murder for leaving two suitcase bombs on the trains in Cologne in July 2006 that failed to explode. The attempted but unsuccessful attack, similar to the train bombing that took the lives of 191 people in Madrid in 2004, shook Germany, which had just finished hosting roughly two million visitors for the World Cup soccer tournament.

Hajdib, 24, and his lawyers said that the propane gas devices were not supposed to explode and the accident was staged to induce fear.

The regional superior court in Düsseldorf sided instead with prosecutors that Germany “never stood closer to an Islamist attack.?

“The fact that it did not result in a devastating bloodbath with a multitude of dead was only thanks to a construction error by the culprit and his accomplice in building the detonation devices,? said Ottmar Breidling, the presiding judge in the case. “It was their explicit aim to kill as many nonbelievers as possible.?

Germany has not yet experienced an Islamist terrorist attack as several surrounding countries have, but security officials believe there have been several close calls. Part of the planning in the 9/11 attacks happened in Hamburg,

Police discovered the two unexploded suitcase bombs on trains in Dortmund and Koblenz. Hajdib was detained in Kiel several weeks after the incident when police revealed a video from surveillance cameras showing Mr. el-Hajdib and the second suspect, Jihad Hamad, boarding trains with suitcases at a Cologne train station.

German security officials gave credit to Lebanon's military officials for intercepting a frightened phone call Hajdib placed to his family after the video of him was broadcast in Berlin. Hamad was arrented in Tripoli.