Nat gas futures trade thinner than an internet IPO in 1999. This is supposed to represent a $300 billion+ market but my order can knock the bid or offer. Crude oil futures are a more orderly market, but there are major problems here as well. Problem as I see it is that volume traded in energy futures is such a small percentage of the actual value of the commodity that is traded in spot market. And because of different grades of product and delivery points, energy futures contracts are not proxies for the underlying commodity. But at same time the futures contract serves as the "price quote" to the world for the commodity. So i believe that speculators in energy futures can run up the futures prices which in turn runs up spot prices. Dealers in spot commodity see the futures going up and provides phsychological support to spot market that might not actually be there if it was freely trading. Notice that all commodity markets took off in 2003 with the boom in hedge funds and the increasing ease with which people can trade commodities via computerized trading, overnight sessions ect. I think it is a matter of national security that this issue be addressed.