Given rising energy and oil prices, I found this energy briefing from Stratfor fascinating. The piece discusses the fluctuations of gasoline prices in the US, noting that "the price of Nymex crude is hovering around $65 per barrel" but that "it generally costs less than $32.50 to produce and transport a barrel of oil." So what explains the 100% difference? "The price of oil is floating on a cushion of fear-driven speculation. Even though there has not been an oil supply crisis for more than three decades, when buyers order for future delivery, they are willing to pay top dollar now on the chance that, if they wait, some catastrophe will drive prices far higher." And that alone is reason enough for the US to secure our long-term energy interests -- and even that of China's, which has become our most critical current and future trading partner -- in the Middle East, Venezuela and other crude producing regions of the world.