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It's both. My grandmother, who practically raised me, was a CFO for an oil company for a couple years. Her husband was a geologist and designed offshore rigs. I don't have facts and I doubt anyone who knew the facts would tell us. But, I do recall numerous conversations about the industry.
Speculation is a huge issue and I would say that it's the major source in the rise of gas. Speculators aren't afraid of politicians because regulation scares the shit out of politicians. Why? Because it would mean even higher prices. Speculation is not just affecting the consumer, but also the industry itself. US Refineries are struggling and finding it hard to meet enough demand to cut a profit. This didn't just start recently. It's been happening since Oil-affecting green policies started to be presented in the Reagan era. Green policies mean major costs in the Oil industry.
The inflation rate is also a big factor. We import the majority of gas we use and that can only mean higher prices because we cant price it ourselves. OPEC doesn't help much as it's just another wasted conference between execs with nothing better to do. We're just lucky our exporters don't have more valuable currency, otherwise we'd be screwed.
The fear of Gas running out is real and affecting everything from all sides. Saudis say they're fine, but their wells will dry up just like Texas wells did. Until they feel they will not be fine, they will be of no help. Our government and industry is wasting time by conserving and pleading for a production boost in Oil. We need to move to something else. Again, as I've said before on other Forums, we need to move to ethanol. It's expensive now, because refining is unique and there aren't enough customers to support it. But, if we act large and fast we can have $1/gallon gas. Even less with different types of sugars being tested. Sugar will not run out and perhaps we can started sucking it out of our crops and livestock and put it into our gas tanks.