Oil shot higher, closing above $100 for the first time as investors bet that crude prices will keep climbing despite evidence of plentiful supplies and falling demand. At the pump, gas prices rose further above $3 a gallon.
The fact that there was no overriding reason for such a price spike could be a bad omen for consumers already bearing the burdens of high heating costs and falling real estate values. Many recent forecasts have said oil demand growth this year will be less than initially expected, yet prices continue to rise. That suggests they may continue rising as the weakening dollar attracts new investors to the futures market.
Oil prices are still within the range of inflation-adjusted highs set in early 1980. Depending on how the adjustment is calculated, $38 a barrel then would be worth $96 to $103 or more today.
For the moment, investors appear to have put aside concerns about the economy that have sent oil prices down into the mid-$80 range twice in the last month. Traders are instead focused on the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, which will meet early next month to map out production plans, and Venezuela, where President Hugo Chavez made conflicting statements this weekend about the country's legal dispute with Exxon Mobil Corp.
Oil continies to hold a steady price, but will it ever flop? People say it will never come down again, but yet everything else has... just a thought.