Why are we turning to countries like Iran, Venezuela, and Saudi Arabia for oil when we could be turning to Montana, North Dakota, and Texas for oil? Plus, with oil prices skyrocketing, is production in the Bakken oil fields already ramping up due to price alone?

Those were a couple of the questions we threw towards Alan Olson, the head of the Montana Petroleum Association, during a recent chat.

Q: Why aren't we turning to our friends here in America, and to a certain extent is some of the some of that domestic production already starting to tick up just because of the price alone?

Alan Olson: We are seeing a little bit of an uptick in production. I mean, crude oil and storage, those numbers are looking a little better all the time. But we're still well under the five year average for crude oil stockpiles... there were a lot of companies that went bankrupt in 2020. There was a lot of debt left on the table. And it has taken quite a while to recover from some of this.

Q: What price per barrel of oil do the companies need in order to increase production? (paraphrased question)

Alan Olson: A lot of that depends on the size of the company and the overhead in the company. But they factor in what they need for lease operating expenses, they factor in numerous, numerous other things. On profitability- some areas it's as low as $40 a barrel other areas it could be as high as $80 a barrel. You've got water disposal costs. It kind of it really depends in what area you're going to be drilling in.

Here's the full audio with Alan Olson:

 

LOOK: See how much gasoline cost the year you started driving

To find out more about how has the price of gas changed throughout the years, Stacker ran the numbers on the cost of a gallon of gasoline for each of the last 84 years. Using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (released in April 2020), we analyzed the average price for a gallon of unleaded regular gasoline from 1976 to 2020 along with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for unleaded regular gasoline from 1937 to 1976, including the absolute and inflation-adjusted prices for each year.

Read on to explore the cost of gas over time and rediscover just how much a gallon was when you first started driving.