Silly me.

A few years back, I was astonished when oil prices had nearly touched $50 per barrel—which at the time seemed exorbitant. And just over a month ago, I was agog that oil prices had breached $80 a barrel.

Oil price graph through 2007 - 185I should have saved my breath. Today, US crude oil futures reached nearly $90 per barrel—a $10 increase in the past month alone. And talk of $100 per barrel oil is becoming increasingly common.

Luckily, I suppose, the thick Alaska crude that gets shipped to the Northwest’s refineries tends to be a teensy bit less expensive than the “light sweet crude” that’s used as the oil price benchmark. But oil prices throughout the globe tend to rise and fall in tandem—so higher prices on the futures market translate, almost dollar for dollar, to higher prices for the Northwest.

Somehow, though, the recent price spike has gotten virtually no attention in the press. It’s a bit weird, really. I mean, we’re contemplating massivehighwayspending throughout metropolitan Cascadia—billions upon billions of dollars of new roads and bridges. Yet at today’s prices, the cost of roads is nothing compared with our spending on oil. So It’s a bit of surprise that oil prices aren’t at forefront today’s transportation debates, rather than being lost in the shuffle.