"we're going to have these GODDAMN oil prices??? Articles?? Anyone??"
I link an oil article practically every day. It's not rocket science to conclude that the prices will drop when/if the speculative fervor cools. Just like JBLU stock could be $50 bucks for no real fundamental reason, oil can be $36 -- especially since the momentum hedge funds are now actively playing the oil market.
I have only 2 real oil concerns at this point (basically, things that could lead to fundamentally-driven high prices). One is Venezuela. The country's future is uncertain because their leader is an anti-American crackpot, and Venezuela is an important source of US oil. That said, oil prices weren't at $36 the last time (16 months ago) when Venezuelan crude was almost completely cut off, so there's no real reason to believe it should be at that price will Venezuelan oil still flowing freely.
My second concern is the way US oil companies manage inventory levels and how the various gov't regulations require different fuel blends for different parts of the country. Remember how, a couple years ago, California electricity users were getting gouged -- which turned out to have been manipulation by the producers? Well, we've set up a complicated fuel oil system that is equally susceptible to such manipulation. Like if you don't have the right "gasoline blend" in some parts of California, you can create the appearance of a shortage and bid up prices. Right now, on a more nationwide level, oil companies have been in no rush to stockpile gasoline for summer driving. There's no real evidence that they can't produce enough (I'll bet you we don't run out this summer), but by keeping inventories low, they can prop up prices by causing speculators to believe there is scarcity.
Higher prices mean higher profits. I mean, doesn't it strike you as odd that the most profitable companies in America are those which sell a very basic commodity? How much brand loyalty do you have to any type of gasoline? In many basic economic ways, the oil business should be as bad a business as the airline industry, but the fact that it's not strongly suggests it is not a free and fair market.
If Bush wants to be elected once again then he has to get the economy going. High oil prices hinder economic growth. All he has to do is hint that he will open up the strategic oil reserves and the prices will fall like a rock. How long before that happens????
**IF** you buy into what John Kerry said yesterday about foreign leaders telling him privately that they support him, what is to keep foreign leaders from squeezing the America economy until lets say **NOVEMBER**! They know the American people are looking at the economy carefully and they don't want to overtly interfere, but a tweak here and a tweak there ........