Daily Revolt

January 09, 2008

Drivers face $3.50 Gasoline this Spring

The press continues to ignore the crisis which are gasoline prices. Americans are increasingly having to choose between driving or putting food on the table. I don't remember hearing any of the candidates talking about this reality. Where is the press? They are too busy making wrong predictions on the election:
U.S. consumers will pay record prices for gasoline this spring, with national monthly pump costs peaking near $3.50 per gallon when the busy driving season begins, the government's top energy forecasting agency said Tuesday.

Higher crude oil prices, which last week topped a record $100 a barrel, are pushing up motor fuel costs, the Energy Information Administration said in its new monthly forecast.

The price of crude oil now accounts for about two-thirds of the cost of making gasoline, according to the Energy Department's analytical arm.

Tight supplies caused by global oil demand growing faster than new oil production is behind higher petroleum costs. And consumers should not expect a break any time soon.

"Global oil markets will likely remain tight through 2008, then ease moderately in 2009," the EIA said. "Both motor gasoline and diesel prices are projected to average over $3 per gallon in 2008 and 2009, with monthly average gasoline prices peaking near $3.50 per gallon this spring."

The national price for gasoline jumped 5.6 cents over the last week alone and now stands at $3.11 a gallon, up 80 cents from a year ago.

High gasoline prices are cutting into consumer spending and raising business expenses, hurting a U.S. economy that is already suffering a slowdown.

And how does a family get by--more borrowing, of course:
Consumer borrowing rebounded in November as credit card debt shot up by the largest amount in six months.

The Federal Reserve reported Tuesday that consumer borrowing rose at an annual rate of 7.4 percent in November, far higher than the 1 percent rise in October.

The category that includes credit card debt surged at an annual rate of 11.3 percent, a six-month high, reflecting the fact that shoppers are continuing to rely heavily on their credit cards to finance purchases since home equity lines of credit have become harder to get.

[...]The 11.3 percent rise in credit card debt was the seventh straight month of strong gains in this area and was the biggest jump since a 12.8 percent rise in May.

Economists believe that consumers are being forced to rely more heavily on borrowing on their credit cards with the collapse of the housing market, which has depressed home prices and prompted banks to tighten up on lending standards for mortgages and home equity lines of credit.

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