Don't look now, but oil has been moving sharply higher over the last couple of weeks, and it is now up 71.15% over the last 3 months. A move of this magnitude in any other market would normally be getting front-page headlines, sparking fears that energy prices would "break the back of the consumer." But since the consumer's back is already supposedly broken, nobody seems to care -- yet.
But rest assured that a continued increase in prices at the pump will start to be felt at some point, causing another area of concern for both the people that consume it and the people in Washington hoping to decrease our use of it. If oil prices are going higher on their own during such a tough economic time and Washington pols try to make them go up even more with cap and trade, taxes, etc., it's not going to make their constituents too happy. At least we know that Russia, Venezuela, the Middle East, and OPEC are starting to breathe a sigh of relief. Things weren't looking too good for them when oil was in the $30s.