Trump tells OPEC to 'relax' as oil, gas prices climb

President Trump on Monday took to Twitter to criticize the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) as oil and gasoline prices move higher.

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U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude oil prices fell 2 percent after the president fired off the tweet, to about $56.12. Brent Crude prices dropped to about $65.91. Prices had stabilized earlier on Monday morning amid signs of progress between the U.S. and China on trade relations.

Last week, oil saw its highest intraday prices since November.

At their December meeting, OPEC members agreed to curb output by 1.2 million barrels per day for the first half of 2019, an effort aimed at boosting prices. Production among the group has been on the decline amid U.S. sanctions on both Iran and Venezuela.

Crude oil accounts for more than half of the retail price of regular gasoline, meaning consumers are starting to pay more at the pump.

As of Monday, the average gas price was $2.39 per gallon, according to AAA. Prices have risen for 12 consecutive days.

Even though prices are on the rise, they are still more than 10 cents cheaper when compared with the same period last year – when they were about $2.51 per gallon.

The highest prices consumers have paid while Trump has been in office was in May, when the average price hit $2.97 per gallon. The lowest prices were seen earlier this year, when they clocked in at $2.23 per gallon on Jan. 9.


In some states, however, people are paying less – including Mississippi where prices average about $2.10. On the other hand, prices in Washington are about $2.86.

Trump has regularly criticized OPEC for high oil prices. At the end of last year he took credit for falling oil and gas prices.