Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja
Rising United States fuel prices are triggering alarm in Washington, with the surge in petrol costs to a nine-month high, following a 20 per cent jump in global crude prices this period after Saudi Arabia and Russia slashed supply.
The move has revived predictions of $100 a barrel oil this year — and new worries about the political fallout, FT said.
In Nigeria, petrol prices have jumped over 200 per cent after President Bola Tinubu announced on May 29 that the government subsidy on the product had been halted. The announcement immediately took the price from about N195 to over N617 currently.
“The White House is in full-blown panic mode,” said Bob McNally, head of Washington-based consultancy Rapidan Energy Group and a former adviser to president George Bush.
“Any sitting president is threatened when pump prices go up because of the impact on consumer confidence and the president’s approval rating,” he added.
A White House official said the administration was continuing to closely monitor petrol prices, but added that it was “important to remember that prices are still down over $1 since their peak last summer”.
Saudi Arabia last week risked angering the White House by announcing that it would extend and potentially deepen existing oil production cuts, despite the International Energy Agency (IEA) warning that crude markets are set to tighten significantly in the coming months. The kingdom followed up on Saturday by increasing the price of its oil it in Asia.
The Biden administration has repeatedly called on Riyadh to pump more oil in the past two years, and last year accused the OPEC+ cartel of “aligning with Russia” when it launched its current phase of supply cuts.