Why? It's a simple matter of supply and demand. Earth's overpopulation by homo sapiens, along with concomitant ever-increasing demand for gasoline, is what drives prices at the pump. Cost of crude oil is only related to the extent that, if it's too high for the supply chain to bear given gasoline prices that the market will bear, production of gasoline will stop. Otherwise, those driving cars -- the gasoline market -- have placed themselves at the mercy of oil companies. As long as human numbers keep increasing and "developing countries" try to "catch up" to those with a western lifestyle, i.e. two cars in every garage and a KFC drive-through for chicken, the trend will continue.
With respect to silver commodity prices and silver halide photographic materials, a different dynamic exists. Demand is much more elastic. Depending on how the market reacts to a long-term drop in silver cost, manufacturers may be forced to eventually lower their prices or terminate production. However, there are other significant costs to consider, particularly oil. Unless the film/paper market considers these when deciding whether it is still willing to buy at higher prices, it might force manufacturers out of business. That would, in my opinion, be a classic example of knowing the price of all things and the value of none.
Just like oil prices are connected to gas prices... Oil goes up a couple percent and gas goes up up a buck, oil goes down 25 percent and gas goes down a nickel.
I wish they would just stop pretending that oil prices have any connection to gas prices and admit they will charge the maximum amount they think the market will bear. Realistically, they could double prices and what is anyone going to do, build a $2 Billion dollar refinery to compete?
Silver is a significant part of film production but not as much as labour, fixed manufacturing costs and distribution. It might mean next years hike is 5% instead of 8% but it will not mean the price of film will drop at all.
Once a photographer is convinced that the camera can lie and that, strictly speaking, the vast majority of photographs are "camera lies," inasmuch as they tell only part of a story or tell it in a distorted form, half the battle is won. Once he has conceded that photography is not a "naturalistic" medium of rendition and that striving for "naturalism" in a photograph is futile, he can turn his attention to using a camera to make more effective pictures.
+1 When we buy film we are buying a product not a commodity. Silver is only one component of the cost. A number of years ago a couple of investors ran up the cost of silver causing the cost of x-ray film and other films to have a sharp rise in cost to the consumer. After their speculation ran it's course the price of silver came down but the price of film remained essentially the same. History has a way of repeating, I wouldn't expect the price of film to come down any time soon if ever.
It can't come down. When they made more profit when the raw material price was lower, their taxes went up. When their profit went back down, their taxes did not. I believe we can file this under the heading "the rich get richer, and the poor get poorer". AKA The Facts of Life.