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「為什麼油價持續走低?」- Why Gas Prices Are So Low Right Now?


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This winter, there's good news for drivers: Gas prices are cheaper than they've been in years. But it wasn't so long ago that people were complaining about high prices. So what happened?
這個冬天,有個好消息給開車的人們:油價比近幾年的價格更便宜了。但不久前,人們才在抱怨著高油價。發生了什麼事?

The first thing to know is that gasoline prices are largely driven by oil prices, and those oil prices are set in a global market and largely determined by the supply and demand of oil. The countries that produce the most oil right now are Saudi Arabia, Russia, and the United States. Saudi Arabia is part of an organization called OPEC.
首先要知道的是汽油價格高度受石油價格控制,而那些石油價格在全球市場中訂定,且主要取決於石油的供給和需求量。目前產出最多石油的國家為沙烏地阿拉伯、俄羅斯,以及美國。沙烏地阿拉伯是一個稱作 OPEC (註一)組織的成員。

In the past, OPEC has often tried to coordinate its production in order to try to get the price it prefers. On the other side, the biggest consumers of oil are the U.S., China, and Japan. Starting in the 2000s, oil prices began rising rapidly. That was because China was growing fast, and oil production wasn't keeping up.
在過去,OPEC 時常試著調整它的生產量以試圖達到它想要的價格。另一方面,石油最大的消費國則為美國、中國,以及日本。始於 2000 年代,石油價格開始急遽攀升。那是因為中國正快速成長,而石油生產卻未跟上腳步。

This led to a huge spike in prices, and a lot of talk about peak oil. But those higher prices also made it profitable for the U.S. and Canada to start going after harder-to-extract oil in shale formations and tar sands. That led to a rise in supply. By 2014, that extra supply combined with the slowdown in demand in Europe and Asia all came together to create a price crash. And that's better news for some than others.
這導致油價的大幅升高,以及許多關於「石油頂峰」(註二) 的討論。但那些高油價也使得美國和加拿大有利可圖,開始去探勘頁岩層及焦油砂中較難提煉的石油。那導致供應量增加。到 2014 年,那額外的供應量外加歐洲和亞洲需求的減緩,全部加總起來造成一波油價暴跌。而那對一些人來說是好消息,對其他人則不。

In Russia and some OPEC countries, low oil prices threaten their national budgets. OPEC could try to cut production to prop up the price of oil, but they haven't done that this time. They're hoping that low prices will make some of the newest U.S. producers unprofitable. In the meantime, American consumers are getting a big break.
在俄羅斯和一些 OPEC 國家,低迷的石油價格威脅到他們的國家預算。OPEC 可以嘗試減產來支撐起油價,但他們這次尚未那樣做。他們正期望著低廉價格會讓一些美國新興的生產者無利可圖。在此同時,美國消費者正有個難得的好運。

If gas stays under $2.80 a gallon, families could save $700 over a year, by one estimate. That will boost the economy. In recent years, the U.S. has been using less and less oil because people are buying more fuel-efficient cars. But when gas prices go back down, we do the reverse and start buying more gas guzzlers and SUVs. So when buying a vehicle, keep in mind that a car can last 10 years or more, but if history is any guide, low oil prices won't last that long.
一份評估指出,如果汽油維持在每加侖 2.80 美元,家庭一年下來可以省下 700 美元。那將會促進經濟成長。近年來,美國使用越來越少石油,因為人們購買較多低油耗汽車。但當油價回跌時,我們反其道而行,開始購買較多高油耗汽車和運動休旅車。所以在買車時,記住一台車可以開十年或更久,但如果歷史教了我們什麼事,那就是低油價可不會持續那麼久。

註一:Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) 石油輸出國組織
註二:石油頂峰是指當石油的生產到達顛峰後,其生產將持續下滑的理論。

  • 「跟上」- Keep Up

    That was because China was growing fast, and oil production wasn't keeping up.
    那是因為中國正快速成長,而石油生產卻未跟上腳步。

  • 「支撐、維持」- Prop Up

    OPEC could try to cut production to prop up the price of oil, but they haven't done that this time.
    OPEC 可以嘗試減產來支撐起油價,但他們這次尚未那樣做。

  • 「在此期間、同時」- In The Meantime

    In the meantime, American consumers are getting a big break.
    在此同時,美國消費者正有個難得的好運。

  • 「天大的好運」- A Big Break

    In the meantime, American consumers are getting a big break.
    在此同時,美國消費者正有個難得的好運。

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