The cause of this increase is OPEC. When they decide on their production levels, it is for the purpose of raising or lowering the world price of oil. They have chosen again and again in the last ten years to raise it.
We're paying a lot more now than we were paying then — for the same product. It doesn't seem like we've been spending that much on gas, but the money we pay for oil doesn't only go into our own car's gas tank. The "income tax" is across the board. Rising oil prices increase the cost of everything shipped somewhere, which means just about everything.
And just like in Muhammad's time, they are using the kafirs' jizya to pay for jihad.
In the article, Achieving Energy Victory, Robert Zubrin writes:
Until the Saudis started racking up billions in inflated oil revenues in the 1970s, the Wahhabi movement was regarded by Muslims the world over as little more than primitive insanity. Without rivers of treasure to feed its roots, this horrific movement could neither grow nor thrive.
It is the Saudis’ unlimited funds — over $200 billion in foreign exchange earnings in 2006 — that have allowed them to buy up the faculties of the Islamic world’s leading intellectual centers; to build or take over thousands of mosques; to establish thousands of radical madrassas, pay their instructors, and provide the free daily meals necessary to entice legions of poor village boys to attend.
Those boys are indoctrinated with the idea that the way to get into paradise is to murder Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Taoists, and Hindus (not to mention moderate Muslims). Graduates of these academies are today killing American soldiers in Iraq.
Meanwhile, Arab oil revenues have underwritten news outlets that propagandize hatefully against the United States and the West, supported training centers for terrorists, paid bounties to the families of suicide bombers, and funded the purchase of weapons and explosives. We have been subsidizing a war against ourselves.
And we have not yet reached the culmination of the process. Iran is now using its petroleum lucre to fund its nuclear program and to insulate itself from economic sanctions imposed on it. Once produced, Iranian nuclear weapons could be used by the Iranian regime itself or be made available to terrorists to attack U.S., European, Russian, or Israeli targets. This is one of the gravest threats to international peace and stability — and, again, we are paying for it ourselves with oil revenue.
Our responses to these provocations have been muted and hapless because any forceful action on our part against nations like Saudi Arabia and Iran could result in the disruption of oil supplies that the world economy is utterly dependent upon.
We cannot stand up to our enemies because we rely upon them for the fuel that is our economic lifeblood. We pay them for their oil and they make war on us.
In light of these realities, U.S. energy policy for the last three decades has been a scandal. The time has come for change. To liberate ourselves from the threat of foreign economic domination, to destroy the economic power of the terrorists’ financiers, and to give ourselves the free hand necessary to deal forcefully with them, we must devalue their resources and increase the value of our own. We can do this by taking the world off the petroleum standard and putting it on an alcohol standard.
There is a bill in the House of Representatives right now that aims to do just that. Please go to OpenFuelStandard.org right now and find out how you can help put America on an alcohol standard.