While there is no specific methodology to determine when crude oil prices increase, About News lists supply, future expectancy and demand as factors that determine the price of the commodity. Commodities traders and speculators invest in crude oil and cause the price to change on a periodic basis.
The supply of crude oil is controlled by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. As of 2015, there are 12 countries that are part of OPEC, and they account for over 40 percent of the world's oil supply. OPEC manages oil pricing by cutting supply when there is a surplus and producing more during a shortage.
Future supply, which is based on oil reserves, is another factor that determines current oil price. Reserves include oil that is available in refineries and in the country's Strategic Petroleum Reserve. The Strategic Petroleum Reserve is an emergency supply of oil that is stored near the Gulf of Mexico. These reserves are not accessed except under special circumstances.
Finally, consumer demand, particularly in the United States, factors into current crude oil prices. Monthly analysis of demand estimates are performed by the Energy Information Agency, and investors and speculators can access current oil prices by visiting Bloomberg Energy.