$4 a gallon and rising

Discussion in 'Political Zone' started by joseephuss, Jun 9, 2008.

  1. joseephuss

    joseephuss Well-Known Member

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    Back in late February President Bush was asked what advice he would give Americans' facing the prospect of gas hitting $4 per gallon. Bush responded: "That's interesting. I hadn't heard that. ... I know it's high now."

    Clearly he has a grasp on what is going on in America and the world.


    Gasoline Hits Average of $4 a Gallon
    Price Shock, Among the Worst in a Generation,
    Will Worsen the Risk of Recession

    The average price of gasoline in the U.S. hit $4 a gallon for the first time Sunday, the latest milestone in a run-up in fuel prices that is sapping consumer confidence and threatening to nudge the nation into recession.

    The record nationwide average for regular-gasoline prices, announced by auto club AAA, follows Friday's near-$11 surge in oil prices to a record $138.54 a barrel. Both are part of what, by some measures, is the worst energy-price shock Americans have faced for a generation, in terms of its toll on their pocketbooks.

    In recent days, soaring fuel prices and disappointing employment data have reignited fears that the nation's economy -- which has taken a pounding over the past year from a housing downturn, credit crunch and weakening job market -- will slip into recession, or pull back further if a recession is already under way. Rising fuel prices are straining household budgets, damping the spending that drives more than two-thirds of the nation's economic activity.

    "What we're seeing here is a lot of additional pressure on a consumer sector that was soft to begin with," said Alliance Bernstein economist Joseph Carson. "Is it a tipping point by itself? It's close."

    Gasoline prices, which have risen 29% over the past year, have been high for months, and in some markets, such as Alaska and California, consumers have been paying more than $4 a gallon at the pump for weeks. But the latest increase at the nationwide level from a previous average of nearly $3.99 a gallon seems likely to deliver at least a psychological blow to many Americans.

    The current drain on consumers' income from rising fuel prices is greater than it was during most of the worst energy-price run-ups of the past. Spending on fuel as a share of wage income has shot above 6%. That exceeds the percentage seen during the 1974-75 and 1990-91 oil-price shocks and approaches the 7% to 8% seen during the 1980-81 price surge, according to Mr. Carson.

    Comparing the rise in fuel spending to income growth, which has been especially weak in recent years, the current shock is far worse than any of the three prior ones, he said.

    "It's just gotten out of hand," said 53-year-old Yvonne Brune of Des Moines, Iowa, referring to the rising cost of gasoline. Because of higher gasoline prices, Ms. Brune, who works for a printing company doing marketing on weekdays and separately as a bridal consultant on nights and weekends, no longer makes the drive home at lunchtime -- a 30-mile round trip -- to spend time with her dogs. Because of rising airfares, she has canceled plans for a trip to Texas to visit relatives. "I think the airlines are going to see their industry implode because people are going to stop flying," she said.

    Some economists hold out hope the current oil-price surge won't be as devastating as some in the past. For one thing, consumers and businesses are far more fuel-efficient today than they were during the oil shock of the mid-1970s, requiring half as much energy to produce a unit of economic output.

    Interest rates also are far lower than they were then, and the Federal Reserve is expected to hold its interest-rate target steady at 2% for much of this year. The dollar's weakness, meanwhile, is raising overseas demand for American products, and growth in exports is a key reason why the U.S. economy has continued to expand -- albeit slowly -- over the past six months.

    Most important, consumers have shown surprising resilience over the past five years, despite continued surges in their fuel costs. "While it certainly makes it tougher for the economy for the next few quarters, I still believe consumers can adapt," said Peter Kretzmer, a Bank of America economist.

    Still, as gasoline prices climb, they eat up money that consumers might otherwise spend on appliances or movie tickets or vacations. That could force businesses, hit by weaker consumer demand and an increase in their own costs, to pare operations and cut more jobs in an already weak labor market. The government reported Friday that the unemployment rate jumped to 5.5% in May from 5% in April as employers shed 49,000 jobs last month -- a fifth-straight monthly decline.

    Lessening the Impact

    The government's $168 billion economic-stimulus program, largely built around tax-rebate checks, is lessening some of the impact of the current shock. But gasoline prices have increased more than $1 a gallon since the economic-stimulus plan cleared Congress in February, suggesting consumers may have spent at least part of that money to fill their gas tanks.

    At the same time, consumers are being buffeted by higher food prices. In Union, Ore., 78-year-old Dan Thompson has started to grow his own produce to avoid driving to a town 15 miles away to buy the increasingly pricey fruits and vegetables. "The gas prices, as far as I'm concerned, are criminal," he said.

    He and his wife also have decided to skip their customary summer trek to Arizona, Utah and Oregon to visit their children. "The kids live a day's drive away or more," he said. "We're probably not going to be able do that this year."

    Oil companies say they have little control over soaring crude-oil prices, which they point to as the main cause of higher gasoline prices. Over the past months, the refiners who turn oil into fuels have been unable to pass the full increase in crude-oil prices through to consumers. As a result, while profits from producing oil have skyrocketed, major oil companies and independent refiners have seen earnings from their refining operations collapse.

    Oil prices have been rising steadily from around $30 a barrel in 2003, at the start of the Iraq war. But the first few years of those increases occurred "in a period of strong growth, rising credit availability and rising house prices," said Jan Hatzius, chief U.S. economist at Goldman Sachs.

    The key question now: Will oil prices go back down, or remain elevated for the long run? A swift plunge in oil prices, even back to the relatively high level of $100 a barrel, would send gasoline costs lower and, as a result, ease pressure on consumers and improve their confidence in the economy.

    Feeling the Pain

    But if oil stays above $135 a barrel and gasoline tops $4 a gallon into the fall, that could reshape businesses and lead Americans to change their spending patterns in broader ways.

    Already, auto makers, airlines, chemical companies and others that rely on oil are feeling the pain. Last week, Continental Airlines Inc. said it would cut 3,000 jobs, slash capacity by 11% and remove 67 airplanes from its fleet because of soaring jet-fuel prices. The move followed similar moves to cut capacity by UAL Corp.'s United Airlines and AMR Corp.'s American Airlines. Dow Chemical Co., one of the world's largest chemical manufacturers, is planning to raise its product prices up to 20% as a result of soaring costs for crude oil and natural gas.

    Sales at many department stores are flat or declining, though warehouse clubs and discounters are reporting continued gains as shoppers seek bargains in the tough economic climate. Last week, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and other discounters reported strong business, citing the government rebate checks, but that effect is expected to dissipate by year end.

    Don Passman, a self-employed handyman, said the rising price of gas is increasingly eating into his profits.

    Six years ago, filling the tank of his pickup truck cost Mr. Passman less than $30. Now, he is paying more than $70. Because of his job, which involves commuting from his home in Allen, Texas, about 25 miles northeast of Dallas, to clients' houses in Dallas and other towns in the area, it is nearly impossible for him to cut back on driving. "I feel like I'm being held at knifepoint," he said. "If they charge $10 a gallon, I'm going to pay it."

    Mr. Passman, 43 years old, sees the higher prices of oil filtering into the prices of everything else, from eggs to bread, while wages remain steady. "Anybody that's not scared is not paying attention," he said.
  2. Ren

    Ren Well-Known Member

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    I live in Norway an oil producing nation and all i can say is I wish gas was this cheap here :banghead:
  3. canters

    canters Well-Known Member Zone Supporter

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    Hey, some more Bush bashing. Really helps things and makes us feel better.


    When and if BO is elected, he and the rest of the world will see that the POTUS has very little if anything to do with gas prices. He cannot make prices go up or down.

    Will BO be subject to the kind of ruthless and mean-spirited attacks that Bush was?
  4. Doomsday101

    Doomsday101 Well-Known Member

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    I would blame Bush if the US was the only country being hit by these high gas prices but that is not the case.
  5. BrAinPaiNt

    BrAinPaiNt Winter is Coming Staff Member

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    Why would any big politician care about it. Most are in bed with the oil industry and even if they are not, they don't have to worry about paying for the fuel in most cases. This is not just a W issue.
  6. Danny White

    Danny White Winter is Coming

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    That's interesting. How much do you pay? Is it jacked up because of taxes?
  7. Jarv

    Jarv Loud pipes saves lives. Zone Supporter

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    Good thing its motorcycle season....:D
  8. PosterChild

    PosterChild New Member

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    I'm shocked but it appears Norway imposes huge petrol tax burden in order to discourage consumption and raise revenues... per the article, they are perfectly happy with all.

    They Did It Norway

    Norway's high gas and auto taxes lead to lower gas consumption

    Americans, who view cheap oil as a divine birthright and throw a tantrum when gas prices exceed $2, would surely view Norway as a strange and alien land if they, ahem, knew anything about it. Despite the Scandinavian country's huge oil reserves -- it is the world's third-largest exporter of black gold -- gas prices hover around $6.66 (Satan's price!), roughly two-thirds of which is gas tax. Benighted Norwegians also pay up to $395 a year per vehicle in auto taxes, and import duties substantially jack up the prices of SUVs and large trucks. As a result, per capita oil consumption hovers around 1.9 gallons a day, compared to America's three gallons. Surely revolt is imminent? Um, no. "There is no political will to change the system," says radio announcer Torgald Sorli. Perhaps the country's average income, among the world's highest, eases the burden a bit. Or maybe it's the 37.5-hour work week, or the five weeks of vacation. Or the plentiful public transportation. Or maybe they just hate freedom.

  9. Ren

    Ren Well-Known Member

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    around 2$ for 1 liter, it's mostly taxes

    1 liter = 0.26 gallons so over double U.S price

    edit: looked up the cheapest price right now it is 9.35Kr for 1L 5.2Kr = 1$ so less then double but still a lot
  10. joseephuss

    joseephuss Well-Known Member

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    Did I say that Bush had anything to do with gas prices in this thread? No. I just said he was out of touch with what was going on in the U.S. That is true and was proven with his response that I quoted. That is not even mean spirited. Just an obvious observation. Gas prices are a concern of many American people and our president is oblivious of that.

    I was just a kid at the time, but I remember Carter being attacked in a mean spirited way during the energy crisis of that time. Mean spiritedness is not limited to just one side of the political spectrum.
  11. canters

    canters Well-Known Member Zone Supporter

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    Carter was never as maligned as Bush is,,no contest. Bush has been a disappointment to a lot of people on a lot of issues. But he was never trearted as a POTUS should have been by the media, the opposition and culture ast large. How many POTUS have had movies made about them such as M Moore's trash, books like McCellen's, and assissination movies?

    McClellen complains about a campaign mentality in the Bush Adm., but how can you let your guard down with the Demos and media in bed together on every issue, trying to undermine you or catch you in one misstatement that will me ran over and over in the 24 hr media cycle?

    Bush is probably the most irrelevant lame duck Pres in my lifetime. But he was treated like crap too often.
  12. BrAinPaiNt

    BrAinPaiNt Winter is Coming Staff Member

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    Clinton ring a bell? Books, movies, people ragging on him.

    Maybe it is just a sign of the times. Maybe it is in the age of more info (real or fake) due the web and media.

    And if the next president screws up, or even if he does not, he too will be bashed. I can already tell that if Obama wins he will be bashed and the same with McCain.

    It is what it is, people are frustrated with politics as usual and I don't see either one making that much of a change to be honest.
  13. big dog cowboy

    big dog cowboy THE BIG DOG Staff Member

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    It's been that way for a long time. :mad:
  14. Jordan55

    Jordan55 Active Member

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    The OPEC minister will look you in the eyes and say the following:

    "We are at war with you infidels. Have been since the embargo in the 1970s. You are so arrogant you haven't even recognized it. You have more missiles, bombs, and technology, so we are fighting with the best weapon we have and extracting on a net basis about $700 billion/year out of your economy. We will destroy you! Death to the infidels!

    While I am here I would like to thank you for the following:

    Not developing your 250-300 year supply of oil shale and tarsands. We know if you did this, it would create millions of jobs for US citizens, expand your engineering abilities, and keep the wealth in the US instead of sending it to us to finance our war against you *******s.

    Thanks for limiting defense department purchases of oilsands from your neighbors to the north. We love it when you confuse your allies.

    Thanks for over-regulating every segment of your economy and thus delaying by decades the development of alternate fuel technologies.

    Thanks for limiting drilling off your coasts, in Alaska, and anywhere there is a bug, bird, fish, or plant that might be inconvenienced. Better that your people suffer! Glad to see our lobbying efforts have been so effective.

    Corn based Ethanol. Praise Allah for this sham program! Perhaps you will destroy yourself from the inside with these types of policies. This is a gift from Allah, praise his name! We never would have thought of this one! This is better than when you pay your farmers NOT TO GROW FOOD. Have them use more energy to create less energy, and simultaneously drive food prices through the roof.

    Thank you, US Congress!!!!

    And finally, we appreciate you letting us fleece you without end. You will be glad to know we have been accumulating shares in your banks, real estate, and publicly held companies. We also finance a good portion of your debt and now manipulate your markets, currency, and economies to our benefit.

  15. AtlCB

    AtlCB Well-Known Member

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    By listening two our two major candidates, Bush isn't the only one out of touch with this issue.
  16. canters

    canters Well-Known Member Zone Supporter

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    Bush still got treated worse than Clinton, IMO. To me, this crap started in 1988 when Loyd Benson trashed Dan Quayle at the debate with the JFK remark, which was a crappy put down, if there ever was one.

    The Dems and segments of the media started on Bush as soon as the US Sepreme Court proclaimed Bush the winner in 2000.
  17. BrAinPaiNt

    BrAinPaiNt Winter is Coming Staff Member

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    And they went on a witch hunt to get clinton and the only thing they could get him on was lying about having sex with an intern.

    I have read many things about how the clintons had everyone from barny rubble to vince foster killed.

    The vitrol for bill is STILL very strong among conservatives and the man has been out of office for almost 8 years.

    The reason there is more bush now is because of the net more than anything.

    Heck there were even people that hated Ronny back in the day. I have no clue how old you are but back in the day many gave Ronny hell and made fun of him. I remember a geneisis video "land of confusion" making fun of him as well.

    This is nothing new. It is just current.
  18. Jordan55

    Jordan55 Active Member

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    If I remember correctly it was the day after, they went after Katherine Harris first, then started attacking Bush, which was the following day and it hasn't stopped.

    My Point, They never got over losing that election, just think we would have missed Al's big Movie debut and his Noble Peace Award (PLEASE) if events had been different.

  19. canters

    canters Well-Known Member Zone Supporter

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    Yep, I am 43. I do remember how poorly RR got treated. It did not seem so personal then as it does now.

    The reason Clinton was so disliked, IMO, was that he was so slick and an adept liar that the other side could not compete, and thusly were jealous. Seems harsh, but that what I saw.

    The left-wing cultural establishment in this country always seems to whine when their guy gets beaten in elections. Other than Carter, their guy has failed to win a plurality (50%+) in any election for POTUS in since Johnson in '64. Seems the electorate is to the right of the cultural establishment, which would put most in the center, or slightly to the right of center.
  20. BrAinPaiNt

    BrAinPaiNt Winter is Coming Staff Member

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    Not as bad for Ronny. I saw those freaking idiots standing on the side streets with burn in hell signs when Ronny was being driven through for his public funeral procession.

    Once again, a great deal of this currently is the internet driven stuff.

    Of course it does not help at all that most news channels are predicated on who can be the loudest, most arrogant, most biased reporting on their top talk show nightly.

    At the end of the day, what difference does it make with W anyways. He sleeked the power and the position, has done a bad job at best...Poor bush. People criticize him boo the freaking hoo. The man is still in office and still running stuff. Let's have a pity party for poor bush.

    I hear just as many whiners and criers on both sides, heck here we are in this thread whining and crying because someone is picking on old innocent W.

    MOST of these politicians, on BOTH sides of the aisle deserve to be criticized and bashed. They are a bunch of rats.

    But if it bothers some too much because old W gets picked on, I offer...


    And a word of advice...don't worry about if someone politician will get his or her feelings hurt, because you can bet they sure won't worry about you getting yours hurt.

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