60 minutes had a good piece tonight on one theory regarding the price of oil. In summary, it started with the deregulation of trading futures by congress in the late 90s/early 2000s.
"And in 2000, Congress effectively deregulated the futures market, granting exemptions for complicated derivative investments called oil swaps, as well as electronic trading on private exchanges."
The reason for the drop in prices last year:
"The oil bubble began to deflate early last fall when Congress threatened new regulations and federal agencies announced they were beginning major investigations. It finally popped with the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers and the near collapse of AIG, who were both heavily invested in the oil markets. With hedge funds and investment houses facing margin calls, the speculators headed for the exits."
Something to discuss since nothing else is going on. AJM, please delete if too off topic.