Rising Gas Prices Curb Economic Growth
I’ve been watching the price of gas rise during the past few weeks, and I can’t help but wonder how many families are feeling pinched by rising fuel prices. Yesterday, I spoke with one of the contractors I work with who happens to own and operate a sizeable business in the Houston area. He mentioned that fuel surcharges would be something he’s considering due to rising fuel costs. He recently downsized his normal vehicle used for sales calls to save on fuel.
That begs the question as to how our lame duck Congress thinks we’re going to see a sustainable recovery in the midst of $4 gas, much less $5 gasoline in some parts of the country? It appears Congress may actually be getting around to curbing position limits on commodities trading, and that would be a major step forward. It’s no secret that speculation has resulted in inflated energy prices. That being said, we aren’t going to drill our way out of high oil prices either. We are already exporting more refined product than we are importing. That means international demand for petroleum products is becoming a more important driver of prices than U.S. consumption. Barring a major slowdown in Asia or a faster collapse of the Eurozone, this is shaping up to be a rather expensive summer driving season in the U.S.
For anyone shopping for a more fuel efficient vehicle, Popular Mechanics recently performed some interesting research on the fuel efficiency of the Ford Focus and Hyundai Elantra. While both vehicles achieved better mileage than their advertised EPA numbers, the Hyundai Elantra beat the Focus rather handily in actual highway mileage achieved at normal cruising speeds (70 mph). I can say from my own personal driving experience that the Hyundai Sonata is also capable of highway numbers approaching 40mpg due to an improved engine and transmission.
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