A lot of factors go into the price of gas at the pump. Some say lack of supply is driving prices up – unfortunately the response to that often includes proposals to relax green refinery rules and open up new drilling areas. Others blame corporate profiteering. And of course there’s the specter of peak oil.

But one major factor leading to the record highs for gas prices in 2008 gets overlooked – global conflict.

A 2006 report by Daniel Yergin’s industry-funded Cambridge Energy Research Associates, shows that global conflict, and particularly the war in Iraq, created a “slow motion supply shock” causing an “aggregate disruption” in the global oil market.

They break down reduced supply like this:

  • Iraq: 900,000 barrels per day below prewar levels
  • Nigeria: 530,000 barrels per day shut-in by insurgents
  • Venezuela: 400,000 barrels per day below pre-2002-2003 strike levels
  • U.S. Gulf of Mexico: 330,000 barrels per day less than before Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

That’s 41 percent due to Iraq, for those keeping score. Nigeria can also be attributed to the now 16 year struggle for self-determination and conflict over resource control in the Niger Delta.  That’s two-thirds of the supply disruption – and by extension some comparable percentage of gas price increase – down to war. Lets call Venezuela resource nationalism (or decades of American imperial behavior in Latin America coming home to roost – er, that’s war again…), and chalk the lost Gulf production up to global warming.

Cambridge Energy Research Associates is about as establishment as energy analysts get. Time to connect the dots.