Crude Realities


As record oil prices dominate the headlines, consumers and investors alike are wondering if Big Oil’s record profits are actually what’s driving us into the recession.

But Red Cavaney of the American Petroleum Institute said the oil industry is not to blame. Instead, high prices are a factor of higher global demand that’s putting pressure on our supply, which in turn creates volatility in the market – it’s why oil can go up nearly $5 in one session like it did on Wednesday, he said. The weak dollar accelerates prices, too.

Prices can’t be blamed entirely on industry speculators either, Cavaney said, because speculation typically leads to inventory accumulation. And there’s no sign of any accumulation right now.

Fast Money’s Karen Finerman called it “embarrassing” for the oil companies to go in front of Congress and say they’re victims of high prices, just like regular Americans. If they want to save face and also help solve the oil problem, she suggests they put some of their record profits back into programs and initiatives to find more oil. They actually need to be lowering their earnings, she said, by reinvesting some of their enormous gains back into the system.

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