I've been searching for explanations about the current spike in gas prices and what I seem to be finding are mainly contradictory statements and a whole bunch of shrugs. Some people talk about refineries closing or being offline for maintenance, then others show that gasoline inventories are high enough and demand moderate enough that they don't justify the price spikes. Oil also seems to be holding at artificially high prices. What the heck is going on?
I'm not at all one to jump at the "damn speculators" argument, but I wonder if that's not the case this time. Gasoline prices right now do seem to be untethered from normal supply and demand restraints and it has me thinking that Daniel Dicker might be on to something here:
Many of the most repeated arguments I hear just don't wash for me, including reduced Saudi supply and a shutting down of East Coast refineries previously owned by Hess (HES) and ConocoPhillips (COP).
What does make sense to me is the strong increase in speculative positions in gasoline, now at a greater number than at any time in that contract's history, even going back to the major spike in oil prices in 2007.
Much more detail in the video at that link, so I would encourage you to watch it. I don't know if he's right, but from what I can see right now, normal market behavior doesn't explain the spike. This price jump just doesn't smell right.