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Bush concerned over soaring petrol prices -

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Bush concerned over soaring petrol prices

The World Today - Wednesday, 23 April , 2008 12:23:00

Reporter: Kim Landers

LISA MILLAR: Crude oil has hit a new high, rising to almost $US 120 a barrel as the greenback
dipped to an all-time low against the Euro. The soaring price of oil has prompted countries
attending the International Energy Forum in Rome to express concern.

And the US President George W. Bush has conceded he's worried as well about the high cost of

Washington correspondent, Kim Landers, reports.

KIM LANDERS: Crude oil has hit an all-time peak of $US 119.90. Analysts say a complex mix of
factors from low interest rates to the sagging US dollar to the faltering American economy is
behind the hike.

Abdulla Salem el-Badri is the Secretary General of OPEC, which produces about 40 per cent of the
world's oil.

ABDULLA SALEM EL-BADRI: To decide on a price ... I think nobody can decide on the price. The market
will decide on the price.

KIM LANDERS: Iraq's Oil Minister Hussain al-Shahristani says the current price is not being
influenced by supply and demand.

HUSSAIN AL-SHAHRISTANI: But it is the speculators who are buying future oil, this is paper oil,
this is not real oil.

KIM LANDERS: Ministers from 74 countries attending the International Energy Forum in Rome have
ended their three day meeting with a statement expressing concern at the high price.

But producers and consumers at the meeting have struggled to agree on much more.

The International Energy Agency, which represents consumers, is warning that high oil prices could
tip the world economy into recession.

Britain's energy minister has told the forum it'd be a good thing for the world economy if prices
were significantly lower, while Saudi Arabia's petroleum minister is calling for calm, saying "this
is not the time to panic".

Anthony Grisanti is a trader for GRZ Energy.

ANTHONY GRISANTI: I think it's the dollar definitely. You know, $1.60 setting a new low against the
Euro, definitely that's added to the strength of crude. But I also think, you know, it's the whole
trend, and the trend has been up for the last six or seven months.

KIM LANDERS: Petrol prices in the US have reached a national average of $3.50 per gallon, fuelling
the tempers of motorists.

VOX POP: Gas prices are outrageous right now. I mean, $3.96?

VOX POP 2: $4.09 is the ... oh my goodness, I don't even know. Oh my God!

VOX POP 3: It just cost me over $50 to fill up this car.

VOX POP 4: It's horrible.

KIM LANDERS: President George W. Bush has acknowledged the pain of the soaring prices.

GEORGE W. BUSH: No question, rising gasoline prices are like a tax on our working people. You know,
what's happening is that we've had an energy policy that neglected hydrocarbons in the United
States for a long period of time and now we're paying the price.

KIM LANDERS: Jack Gillis from the Consumer Federation of America thinks the high prices will curb
the amount that Americans drive.

JACK GILLIS: Culture shock or the economic shock as a result of $4, even if it's just
psychological, will change behaviours dramatically.

KIM LANDERS: But the US President isn't urging Americans to drive less.

Instead George W. Bush wants Congress to approve oil drilling in an Alaskan wildlife refuge to
boost supply.

LISA MILLAR: That's Kim Landers in Washington.