Whatever happened to the law of supply-and-demand? Despite a notable reduction in the amount Americans are driving, fuel prices have not responded in traditional fashion and are, if anything, continuing to rise after a brief respite.
The Benchmark West Texas Intermediate Crude jumped more than 2% on Tuesday, climbing $2.28 a barrel, to $97.43. In Europe, closely-watched Ice Brent Crude did slip slightly in early Wednesday trading, but had still climbed to $117.36 a barrel.
Many economists had expected the oil price numbers to keep falling, as they did leading up to the beginning of the month, reflecting worsening economic news around the world – which often translates into reduced demand. In earlier times, prices almost certainly would have slumped on word that U.S. motorists have continued curbing their driving – now for the fourth month in a row.