I'm a VIX newbie and I'm trying to understand why the VIX futures market is usually in a state of contango.
All I can figure is that the sellers of VIX futures contracts demand high "prices" (because the seller is the holder of the short position and makes money when the price falls), and since there are willing buyers, namely ETNs and ETFs that are trying to track the S&P 500 VIX SHORT-TERM FUTURES INDEX (SPVIXSTR) through the purchase and sale of VIX futures, the contracts get sold.
Also, the farther out the futures contract expires, the less certain the seller is about what the value of the VIX and the SPVIXSTR will be at the future's expiration date. The greater uncertainty over a longer term results in the seller demanding higher premiums over a longer term than he would demand over a shorter term.
It seems like a prudent buyer of VIX futures wouldn't buy contracts that are priced so high.
It seems like the VIX futures market should be in a state of contango about as frequently as it is in a state of backwardation.
What causes contango in the VIX futures market, and why is it the usual state of the market?