At constant pressure and temperature, the spontaneity of all chemical reactions is controlled by the difference in Gibbs free energy ($\Delta G$), as described by the following equation:
$\Delta G = \Delta H - T\Delta S$
Where $\Delta H$ is the enthalpy change of reaction, $\Delta S$ is the entropy change, and $T$ is the absolute temperature. For a reaction to take place spontaneously, the free energy change must be negative (i.e., $\Delta G < 0$). In the specific reaction you're asking about, it's very probable that the change in entropy is negative, since a gas is being consumed and an equal total number of moles products are being formed as moles of reactants, so that the end result is an increase in order with respect to the reaction mixture. However, the formation of products results in a net release of heat (i.e., $\Delta H$ is negative), which increases the entropy of the surroundings sufficiently, such that, overall, entropy is increased in a global sense.
Ultimately, what drives this reactions forward is its exothermic nature (under standard conditions). In this reaction, the formation of stable chemical bonds releases energy as heat. If one were to attempt this reaction at very high temperatures, it would eventually fail, as the increase of the $T\Delta S$ term would at some point dwarf the enthalpy change.
There are other factors at work as well, including chemical equilibrium. By Le Chatelier's principle, the process can be made favorable by, e.g., maintaining a continual excess of reactants, or removing products formed from the reaction mixture as it proceeds.
Edit: Here's one source which indicates 348cal/g energy released, to put a specific number on the process. You could also calculate the enthalpy change using tables of standard thermodynamic data.