Europe is the next biggest consumer - they are way off. China IS huge and drives prices. Global production is up.
Oil marched from $15 / barrel in '98 - '99 when this Peak Oil stuff started to $150. We were supposed to run out of oil by 2020. World is producing MORE oil now than in '99 and projected to produce even more by 2020. Peak oil was a myth and was the biggest driver of prices and speculation.
So where should the price be?
Average price of production is $22 / barrel.
High prices did do a ton of good. We now have cars that get 100 (!!!) miles per gallon, and high prices made selling oil so lucrative that companies looked for it everywhere and anyhow they can get it. Alternative fuels start to look attractive. I venture to say changes in technology will make it cheaper to drive electric or nat gas cars way before we run out of oil.
More than interest rates and money supply, the cost of producing goods determines how much that product costs. Energy is a huge factor. Oil cost has caused higher inflation than any other factor. The crimp that high energy costs puts on the rest of the economy is unreasonable
Market is hell bent on closing the Brent / WTI spread. That may account for rise in speculation on WTI as traders short Brent. Refinery play is over.