Bush to discuss oil prices with Saudi king
WASHINGTON - President Bush said Monday that when he meets Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah later this week, he'll bring up the effect that high oil prices are having on the U.S. and global economies.
"Of course I'll bring it up to him," Bush said in a CBS News radio interview. However, he added that the capacity of the Saudis to raise production â€” and thus help lower prices â€” is limited.
"When you analyze the capacity for countries to put oil on the market it's just not like it used to be," Bush said. "The demand for oil is so high relative to supply these days that there's just not a lot of excess capacity."
However, Saudi Arabia has considerable additional production capacity. It's pumping a little over 8.5 million barrels a day, compared with about 9.5 million barrels a day two years ago, and has acknowledged the ability to produce as much as 11 million barrels a day.
When Bush last met with the king in January, they also talked about high oil prices. At the time, Bush was hopeful that OPEC would authorize an increase in oil production. The kingdom holds the world's largest oil supplies and is a major voice in decisions by OPEC.
Asked what he planned to tell the Saudis this time that he didn't tell them last time, Bush observed that "the price is even higher."
Oil prices briefly spiked to a new record above $126 a barrel Monday but ended the day lower as investors cashed in profits and an earthquake in China raised the possibility of a drop in demand. Retail gas prices, meanwhile, rose to another record above $3.70 a gallon.
White House spokeswoman Dana Perino also said Bush would raise the topic.
"Will he ask the Saudis to consider the drain on the world economy because of high gas prices? Yes, of course. He raises it every time that he can," Perino said.
In the interview, Bush also said that most oil imported into the United States "comes from Canada and Mexico," not from Saudi Arabia.
Bush also said that, while he was a "big supporter" of energy conservation, he would not issue a specific appeal to the public to ease up on driving and not use as much fuel. "I think they can figure out how to do that," he told CBS. "I mean, the market has a way of convincing people to drive less, depending on their ability to afford."
Bush to discuss oil prices with Saudi king - Yahoo! News