Here's the answer as I understand it and I went to some pains to try to understand what happened with oil prices this year. The spot market determines our price at the pump and follows the future market very closely because there is very little cost to producers to store the stuff. That means that if somebody offers a producer a contract for 140/barrel five or six months down the road, you (the spot market) will have to offer him at least, say, 135 or 136 right now to get his attention.
Now, also as I understand it, the futures market is a pure zero sum game in which nobody ever makes a dime other than by somebody else losing that same dime, and those guys absolutely have to have a reason to go short or they never will and, prior to this year for a very long time, those guys had never had a reason to go short. George W. Bush provided that first reason when he first started talking about drilling offshore and THAT knocked ten dollars off the price of a barrel of oil in a single day.
It's worked so far, but we HAVE to start drilling or we fall back into the same stupid morass as soon as the economy picks up atad.