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Oil Analyst Peter Beutel Says Higher Interest Rates Could Mean Lower Gas Prices

HARTFORD, CT (WCBS 880) - Oil company earnings won't drive down prices at the gas pump, but one oil analyst has an idea about what might.

WCBS 880 Connecticut Bureau Chief Fran Schneidau With Oil Analyst Peter Beutel


The embarrassment of riches revealed by big oil company earnings won't help to level off gas prices at the pump, according to oil analyst Peter Beutel, who says the key will be what the Federal Reserve does with interest rates.

"[If] Bernanke says 'No, we're not going to give anymore easy credit. We're going to start raising interest rates' then there is a very good chance that oil prices could come down," Beutel told WCBS 880 Connecticut Bureau Chief Fran Schneidau.

Beutel said these rising prices are not the result of ENRON-like profiteering. He says if interest rates do rise we could see, $3, even $2 a gallon gasoline again, in five or ten years.

Other factors Beutel points to are "how refineries get back from maintenance this season, what the economy is doing, and what the overall picture is for credit."

Meanwhile, Rep. Steve Israel of Long Island says it's time to tap into the nation's Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

WCBS 880 Long Island Bureau Chief Mike Xirinachs With Rep. Steve Israel


He says doing so would immediately lower the price of fuel.

"[It would be a reduction of] about 20 percent immediately, 20 percent reduction at the pump, and could be as much as 35 percent within ensuing days," Israel told WCBS 880 Long Island Bureau Chief Mike Xirinachs.

Israel admits that this would only be a short-term solution, saying the only long-term solution is a change in energy policy.

"It is time for a true energy policy that will end this addiction, this expensive addiction, to foreign oil," says Israel.

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