The price of gasoline and other petroleum products has been headed in one direction (up) forever, but lately the curve seems a lot steeper than usual and I think I know why. I know there are a lot of forces like increased demand, unrest in the mideast, natural disasters (to name a few) that affect the price of gas but I think there a couple of other villains that are playing an increasingly important role lately: Big Oil and Speculators.
These two groups have a couple of things in common: rising gas prices make them very, very (I think the term "obscenely" would not be inappropriate) rich; and they thrive in a market that is free of regulations that might regulate their profit-taking in the name of the "common-good". If profits are good (and they are) then unrestricted profits are even better (at least if you are the one making them.) Limiting the regulations to which their business practices are subjected is in their self-interest, and with these groups self-interest is their only interest.
I have theorized in this space before that it is not beneath the dignity of those who make great profit at the expense of the rest of us to do whatever it takes to promote their financial interests even if that means engaging in activity that is of a dubious nature. So my new conspiracy theory is that these two groups, Big Oil and Speculators, have undertaken a strategy to keep gasoline prices as high as possible in an effort to affect the next presidential election in 2012.
Gas prices have a direct effect on the approval rating of the president - when prices go up, his approval goes down. It's true, you can look it up. So by keeping gas prices in an upward spiral between now and election day 2012, they (you know who I mean) can increase the chances of Obama being defeated by someone more sympathetic to their claims that what this country really needs to prosper is a totally free market, devoid of regulations that might impair their profit-taking. As I have said before, these men know how to exploit a situation to their advantage.
So if you are waiting for gas prices to go down, or even level off and stop rising, I say it's not going to happen, at least not until after the election. Even if peace were to break out in the middle-east, and huge new oil reserves were discovered, and there were no natural disasters the price of gas will still go up - because if it goes down the president's approval rating will go up, and that would be bad for Big Oil and Speculators who want to see him defeated. That's what I think, anyway.