Former House Speaker and presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich said a then-struggling U.S. economy can't afford to spend billions of dollars overseas to buy foreign oil when there was plenty of that Texas tea at home in the United States. Gasoline prices, he said, could drop to $2.00 per gallon if drilling activity increased dramatically in the United States. A year later, nearly 90 million barrels of oil was produced worldwide and almost half of that came from new drilling operations in the United States. Gasoline is still nowhere near $2.00 per gallon even though the United States is mentioned in the same breath as Saudi Arabia.
The International Energy Agency said this week fears of so-called peak oil are more or less unfounded in part because of production gains from the United States. Production from the Bakken formation in the Northern Plains states helped move the North Dakota economy from failure to frenzy in roughly a decade's time. Issues overseas, however, are driving domestic gasoline prices higher as oil on the international market stays above the $100 per barrel mark for the first time since last year. (Related article: Why Gas Prices are Unlikely to Fall Anytime Soon)