How Do Speculators Affect Gas Prices?

BY Paul Solman  April 26, 2012 at 3:07 PM EDT

gasoline pump
An attendant displays a fuel pump at a gas station in the Brooklyn borough of New York. Photo by Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Paul Solman frequently answers questions from the NewsHour audience on business and economic news on his Making Sen$e page. Here are Thursday’s queries:

Name: Jay Berman

Question: Where do the speculators on the commodity exchange or hedge funds affect the price of gas?

Making Sense

Paul Solman: I assume you mean “how” do they affect the price, Jay. This is a controversial topic. I have long lined-up, rather emphatically, on one side of it — that speculation is a critical factor in price.

Some very eminent economists think I’m wrong, but for what it’s worth, my fullest exposition came back in January of 2009. I’ve had no reason to revise it in the years since.

Name: Jerry Snow

Question: You did a story about B-Companies [[called B Corps in our story](http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/business/jan-june12/bcorps_02-29.html)], such as Warby Parker, who are including social responsibility in their mission. I’m looking for more information on this approach to business. Where can I find out about certification and criteria?

Paul Solman: Simple. Bcorporation.net.

This entry is cross-posted on the Making Sen$e page, where correspondent Paul Solman answers your economic and business questions