let's see, the oil corporations make just under 9 cents on the dollar (9%)
the government collects between 46 and 68 cents per gallon of gas (federal, state and local). Thats 11.5 cents minimum at 4 bucks a gallon.
there is talk by the government of a "windfall profits tax" that would be charged on the oil company profits (the 9 cents), and if that were to happen, it will get passed onto the consumer.
as for the "speculators", what is being talked about is the commidities futures markets. This is essentially betting on what a future price will be, wether it's Oil, corn, soybeans, wheat.... the money in questions comes from hedge funds and large corporations that use the market to even out material costs. Southwest a year and two ago was buying oil futures at 110 to 120 a barrel. this allowed them to offset the rising cost of jet fuel which saved their clients while helping them make a profit.
current land leases to oil corporations equal only 6% of land in the US and 8% of land in the oceans owned / controlled by the government. of them, manny are just not long enough of a term to allow the corpoations to re-coup the monies to explore and drill for the oil.....
Corn prices today and the futures prices are rising, in part to a government mandate of corn to be used to produce ethanol... and farmers in this great free market economy have been switchin some of their crops from soybeans to corn resulting in rising soybean prices....
with all that said, I believe that we need to explore all alternative options while pursuing getting it from offshore and shale
meanwhile I'm still looking for a daily driver from the 80's and havent decided on a model but I am checking the gas EPA estimates on my potentials....