This should come as little surprise, but oil prices just topped $60 per barrel.

While this is the highest nominal price ever, it’s far from the highest inflation-adjusted price; in the early 1980s oil topped $94 in today’s dollars.  Still, the recent price runup has been pretty darn steep: the price of a barrel of oil has increased roughly fivefold since the winter of 1998. 

As a reminder:  Washington, Oregon, and Idaho combined use about 250 million barrels of oil every year (see this US Energy Information Agency site for details for your state), none of which is produced within the states’ borders.  Much of this oil comes from Alaska’s North Slope; and this oil is a little cheaper than the light crude to which the spot price refers.  Still, at current prices (link to Anchorage Daily News; registration may be required), our oil consumption habits will siphon off about $14 billion from the combined economies of the three states, which is about one out of every 30 dollars generated in the region.  And, obviously, the more money that leaves the region to pay for oil, the less is left to circulate among local businesses and residents.