Oil Costs Hinge on War, Saddam February 28, 2003 Crude oil prices soar to nearly $40 per barrel, and in some parts of the country motorists pay $2 a gallon for gas. The White House says it's concerned. Industry analysts say a quick, successful Iraqi war could push prices down and help a sluggish global economy. But much depends on Saddam Hussein's capacity to retaliate. Hear NPR's Scott Horsley and NPR's Kathleen Schalch.