Speculators in the oil markets are betting that a global economic downturn will result in a decrease in consumption.
At one point the price of crude reached nearly $150 a barrel.
Increased demand by China and India, the weakening of the U.S. dollar and environmental/political regulations limiting the exploration and exploitation of new reserves have all been cited as major factors contributing in the record price of petroleum.
Bouts of fisticuffs between politicians, government regulators, free market enthusiasts and generally clueless talking heads and pundits on cable news networks ensued.
But the fact that oil fell so far, so fast over the course of a week does lend a little credence to the notion that speculators are, and have been, able to game the price of oil. To what extent remains to be seen.
Topping off the tank: If the price of crude continues to fall, does that mean Democrats seeking election, environmental activists and media types will no longer get to wave the bloody shirt of evil oil companies making windfall profits at the expense of the American public? And will Congress bail Big Oil out when the companies start losing money?