Politifact Virginia: Jim Webb on the price of gas

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Gas prices are going through the roof. In fact, AAA Mid-Atlantic says the average price around Richmond is $3.15 a gallon -- a 15 cent jump in only a week.

The cost of oil is the problem. But why? Here's what Senator Jim Webb had to say:

"We were worried, and were saying so at the time, that this endeavor would harm the country's economy--that it would blow the top off the price of oil. Recall when the Congress voted to go to war in Iraq, oil was $24 a barrel.  It went up to $143. Today, it's about $102."

Is it that simple of a cause and effect relationship? Did going to Iraq lead to a huge jump in the price of oil?

According to the reporters at Politifact Virginia, that claim is barely true. The price of oil has actually bounced up and down quite a bit since the war in Iraq.

In fact in the Summer of 2008 the price was as low as $40 a barrel. So what's really affecting oil prices?

Demand.  That's what two different economists told the reporters at Politifact. They say Iraq only had a small impact on prices.

"What really drives oil prices are supply and demand and with the increasing demand globally in the last few years that's been much more important than what has been happening in the oil fields of just one oil producing nation," Said Jacob Geiger of the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

And you can see all the information behind this week's Politifact Virginia report on their web site, www.politifactvirginia.com and you can see all our past reports on my political blog, www.decisionvirginia.com.

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