I've been wondering for a while now, what is up with these gas prices? What changed to drive up the cost of a barrel of oil? Is it peak oil? It it increasing demand from China and India? Is it speculators driving up the market? I don't know, but Exxon's record profits seem to disprove the conventional wisdom. I am not the first person to point out that Exxon can't be making record profits if they are merely passing on increased costs.
Something else is going on here. There almost seems to be a coordinated effort to maximize profits now, even if doing so drives down demand for oil and drives up demand for cars with better mileage and fuel alternatives. In other words, if they are artificially increasing the price of oil, they're profitting themselves out of future profits.
Why would they do that?
Maybe because we're on the verge of an energy revolution. What with algae farms capable of producing massive amounts of bio-diesel, plasma arc gasification of trash, and now the incredible possibility of artificial photosynthesis powering our homes and charging up our automobile hydrogen fuel cells, I foresee that within the next ten to twenty years, the oil and gas industry as we know it will be no more.
Maybe gas is so high today because the oil companies have already seen what the future holds - dwindling (not increasing) demand for fossil fuels. They are, in effect, cashing out.