America's Oil Crisis: What's Behind Soaring Prices?

Energy prices have doubled over the past year, and to better understand why, CNBC asked prominent executives, politicians and analysts for their insight.

Examining the Role of Speculators

“Some say that the price of a gallon of gasoline at the pump, a dollar worth of that price can be attributed to speculation…A couple of weeks ago the price of a barrel of crude oil went up 10 percent in one day. Did I miss a new war in the Middle East? Was there a huge oil disruption that I missed along the way? I don’t think so.”

Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill.

Oil Prices & Demand

“There is still a lot going on in Asia on the demand side that’s keeping these markets very strong bit…as inflation becomes more of an issue, not only here in the U.S. but in Europe and growth starts to slow, you’re going to start to see demand for crude in the developed Western economies start to come off. You combine that with a slowdown in Asia after the Olympics, and I think that’s when demand really kicks in, and we start to see crude move down materially.”

Addison Armstrong, Tradition Energy

Fiorina on McCain's Energy Solutions

“John McCain absolutely agrees that the federal government must play a leadership role here, whether that leadership role is in funding basic research, so that we can accelerate our understanding of how to produce clean coal for example, or whether that means accelerating our research into green technologies and bringing them to market.”

Carly Fiorina, RNC Victory Chairman & Former Hewlett-Packard CEO

Understanding Oil Prices

“I tend to tell people to remember that oil, particularly the supply side of the equation, is more of a cycle phenomena.”

Michael Rothman, ISI Group