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    • And Finally again from the brilliant David D of FDL:

      But if Pelosi really wants to fight this out, she has to do what the lonely few on the Democratic side – mostly Maria Cantwell and Bernie Sanders – have been doing. She has to demand that the CFTC set position limits on speculators. Their commodity speculation rule from October was comically weak, and that had clear consequences. Maybe you can hit Republicans for cutting the CFTC budget, but ultimately it’s an executive agency that can crack down on oil speculators.

      That said, I really hope this speculation idea reaches the national consciousness for once. This has been going on for years. Matt Taibbi wrote about it brilliantly in 2008, when the speculation was just as bad if not worse. There’s a place for speculation and hedging but not the majority of the market. This desperately needs to be explained to the public, and having Nancy Pelosi take a role will go a long way to actually getting some information out.

    • Continued:

      A McClatchy review of the latest Commitment of Traders report from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which regulates oil trading, shows that producers and merchants made up just 36 percent of all contracts traded in the week ending Feb. 14.

      That same week, open interest, or the total outstanding oil contracts for next-month delivery of 1,000 barrels of oil (about 42,000 gallons), stood near an all-time high above 1.486 million. Speculators who’ll never take delivery of oil made up 64 percent of the market.

      The analysts in the piece say oil should be trading around $75 a barrel, not $106. This is pretty serious, because high gas prices have proven time and again to slow the US economy, as we don’t have a flexible enough transportation infrastructure to absorb them. The energy analysts are all saying the same thing – Wall Street speculators must share the blame for this.

    • Agreed.....
      From FDL,
      House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi went sharply after oil speculation late yesterday, taking up a strategy to answer Republicans on rising gas prices that has not been employed much in the political sphere. Take a look at Pelosi’s press release yesterday on the subject:

      Independent reports confirm that speculators are driving up the cost of oil, hurting consumers and potentially damaging the economic recovery. Wall Street profiteering, not oil shortages, is the cause of the price spike. In fact, U.S. oil production is at its highest level since 2003, and millions of acres have been cleared for additional development.

      We need to take strong action to protect consumers from this speculation. Unfortunately, Republicans have chosen to protect the interests of Wall Street speculators and oil companies instead of the interests of working Americans by obstructing the agencies with the responsibility of enforcing consumer protection laws. They have also repeatedly opposed our efforts to end billions of dollars in outdated taxpayer subsidies for oil companies enjoying record profits.

      We support efforts by the Obama Administration to expand domestic energy resources, including natural gas and renewable sources like wind and solar that create jobs in America and will end our dangerous dependence on foreign energy supplies. This can be achieved because today, the United States currently has more oil and gas rigs at work than the rest of the world combined, and imports of foreign oil have decreased.

      We call on the Republican leadership to act on behalf of American consumers and join our efforts to crack down on speculators who care more about their profits than the price at the pump even if these spikes harm the American consumer and our economy.

      Gas prices have gone up about a quarter in Los Angeles in the last week. This will be the next terrain on which our politics are waged. And the facts are that domestic oil drilling has never been higher, and demand for gas in the US is at a 14-year low. So only global demand, geopolitical worries or speculation can be driving this. Global demand is certainly possible, though the entire European continent is in a recession and China is seeing slower growth, along with the low US demand. And the geopolitical situation definitely drives up prices at the moment, particularly because of Iran and the threat of a military strike, along with the oil embargo (something on which the major parties don’t really disagree).

      But speculation is definitely a factor, as this McClatchy article shows.

      While tension over Iran has ratcheted up over the last few months, the price of oil and gasoline has leaped far beyond conventional supply and demand variables. Financial speculators are piling into the market, torquing the Iranian fear factor into ever-higher prices.

      “Speculation is now part of the DNA of oil prices. You cannot separate the two anymore. There is no demarcation,” said Fadel Gheit, a 30-year veteran of energy markets and an analyst at Oppenheimer & Co. “I still remain convinced oil prices are inflated.”

      Consider that light, sweet crude trading on the NYMEX changed hands at $79.20 a barrel just four months ago, but soared past $106 a barrel Tuesday afternoon, partly on news that Iran would halt shipment of oil to Britain and France. But those countries already had stopped buying Iranian oil. And Didier Houssin, the International Energy Agency’s director for energy markets and security, said that “there are alternative supplies that can make up for any loss of Iranian exports,” The Wall Street Journal reported [...]

    • The reason oil and gasoline are at the levels they are has nothing to do with supply and demand. It has everything to do with rampant speculation. The banks under Paulson were given 1 trillion through TARP, no strings attached. They were also given 15 Trillion through access to the fed discount window, no strings attached. Much of this money went and continues to go into commodities. If congress did as Barney Frank suggested and placed strings on the money which were 1. No prop trading until every dime paid back or 2. Money can only be used for loans, we would not be in this problem, but Paulson and the rep. congress said this would hamstring the banks.

    • And then there is this. Will Obama speech tommorrow be the start of a new energy policy in America? One can only hope.....

      speculators, not a lack of domestic drilling, are to blame for the nation's rising gas prices, the top House Democrat argued Wednesday.

      House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said unscrupulous Wall Street investors have artificially inflated prices at the pump, which are climbing toward $4 per gallon.

      The California Democrat called on Congress to take "strong action" to rein in the allegedly excessive speculation, and accused Republicans of protecting Wall Street profits at the expense of consumers.

      "Wall Street profiteering, not oil shortages, is the cause of the price spike," Pelosi said in a statement. "Unfortunately, Republicans have chosen to protect the interests of Wall Street speculators and oil companies instead of the interests of working Americans by obstructing the agencies with the responsibility of enforcing consumer protection laws."

      The comments — arriving a day before President Obama is scheduled to address the issue of rising gas prices in Miami — represent just the latest shot in the perennial debate over the cause of price fluctuations in the oil and gasoline markets.

      Regular gasoline prices are averaging $3.58 per gallon and have risen almost 20 cents in the last month, according to AAA.

      While many Republicans push more domestic drilling, Pelosi and other Democrats have long argued that speculative Wall Street trading in energy markets has pushed oil and gasoline prices far above what supply-and-demand fundamentals should dictate.

      The 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law included a suite of provisions to expand federal oversight of the trading, including new “position limits” for traders that the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) finalized late last year.

      But Drew Hammill, a spokesman for Pelosi, said Republicans have blocked the funding needed for adequate CFTC oversight, noting that the current-year funding of $205 million is not enough to meet the agency’s increased responsibilities. President Obama’s recent fiscal year 2013 budget plan seeks $308 million for the agency.

      “While the Republicans have introduced, but not been able to enact, bills that would overturn or delay Dodd-Frank, strangling oversight is their new method to protect Wall Street speculators,” Hammill said in an email.

      Republican leaders have rejected that argument, saying the Democrats' resistance to wholesale energy exploration is driving up the price of fuel.

      Obama's recent rejection of the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline, they argue, is just the latest evidence that the White House is prioritizing the concerns of environmentalists over the production of fuel.

      GOP presidential contender Newt Gingrich recently hammered the president for having an "outrageously anti-American" energy policy, while Rick Santorum, another Republican hopeful, blamed Obama's “radical environmentalist policies” for the rising costs.

      Some Democrats are also urging President Obama to consider releasing oil from the country's emergency stockpiles in order to lower gas prices.

      The White House, for its part, points out that oil production has risen in recent years. Administration officials are also touting plans to expand offshore oil-and-gas leasing.

      But the administration proposal, which focuses on Gulf of Mexico regions where development is already centered and more Alaskan leasing, is not nearly as expansive as many Republicans would like.

      The House cleared GOP legislation last week that would mandate far wider leasing by opening up areas off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, and would also allow drilling in the onshore Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska and green-light construction of the Keystone pipeline.


    • Tapping the SOS--where have I heard that before. Oh yea it was here a day or so ago. And this is how it starts:

      Three House Democrats urged President Obama Wednesday to consider releasing oil from the country's emergency stockpiles in order to lower gas prices.

      The lawmakers warned that tapping the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR), a 696-million-barrel stockpile of oil stored in salt caverns along the Gulf Coast, could soon be necessary to combat rising prices they say stem from market speculation.

      “It is essential that the United States have an aggressive strategy for releasing oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to combat the speculators capitalizing on the fear in oil markets and to send a message to Iran that we are ready, willing, and able to deploy our oil reserves,” the Democrats said in a letter to Obama.

      “Signaling that the United States will continue to employ an aggressive SPR policy in the near term would send a strong signal to oil markets responding to the unrest in the Middle East.”

      Oil prices have soared amid threats by Iran to halt oil shipments. Gas prices are also on the rise. The average gallon of gas cost about $3.58 on Wednesday, according to AAA — that's up from this time last month ($3.38 per gallon) and this time last year ($3.17 per gallon).

      The White House approved the release of 30 million barrels of oil from the SPR last summer to combat supply losses from Libya that officials said were threatening the economic recovery.

    • A comparison to the history of GSM and CDMA global market penetration might be a good analogy to the standardization of the smart grid.

    • Politics CONTROLS the energy discusion in America which is VITAL to ELON's future. AA ny forward looking political analysis would have long since had energy efficiency (Elon fortay) and revitalize electric grid (again Elon would be at vanguard) as a key element to any true platform.

      Please take your backward looking views (back to the 50's seems in vogue now for some reactionaries!) to another board. Elon is the future if the future is EVER allowed to get to the United States.

    • Take your polital views to a non ELON board.

    • fungible

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