Saudis Promise Modest Boost in Oil Production

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Saudi Arabia, the world's largest oil producer, has promised to boost production modestly. But some energy forecasters aren't jumping for joy.

RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

And oil markets are up again this morning, despite a promise from Saudi Arabia that it may boost production. The hope is that a boost in supplies will lower the price of oil and gas. Drivers are now paying an average of $4.10 for a gallon of self-serve regular gas. Here's NPR's Curt Nickisch.

CURT NICKISCH: There's movement on both sides of the supply-demand curve. The world's largest oil producer, Saudi Arabia, is promising to boost production modestly. At Alaron Trading, Phil Flynn says more supply should bring prices down.

Mr. PHIL FLYNN (Alaron Trading): Obviously more oil is what the market's asking for. It's going to help. It could bring prices down maybe a nickel or dime at the pump.

NICKISCH: And declining demand may bring prices down further. A Massachusetts energy forecasting firm expects Americans will use less gasoline this year than they did last year. Cambridge Energy Research Associates says people are driving less and are starting to look for more fuel efficient cars. But at a gas station just around the corner from that firm, drivers were more deflated than elated.

Ms. LIZ REZNICK(ph) (Gas consumer): I'm not jumping for joy.

NICKISCH: Liz Reznick says a few cents of price relief doesn't bring the cost of gas close to where it was.

Ms. REZNICK: I'm just trying to get the gas light to go off. And it used to take $5.00 to do that. Now it takes $20. Prices need to go down - a lot.

NICKISCH: To hope for a lot is probably too much. Consumers will get a better sense of the long term outlook when the Department of Energy releases its annual forecast this week.

Curt Nickisch, NPR News, Boston.

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