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Don't blame energy speculators for rising cost of crude oil

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The price of a barrel of oil has more than doubled in the past year and a half, from $60 in early 2007 to a high of $142 earlier this summer. This has led to a search for someone to blame for this price increase and for government policies to reduce oil prices.

The actions of energy traders, more pejoratively known as speculators, are being targeted by Ralph Nader, the chief executives of the major domestic airlines and many members of Congress as a major cause of this price increase. However, data from world oil market demonstrates that it is unlikely that speculators have had a noticeable impact on world oil prices.

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