While my old stomping grounds along the Florida panhandle this morning are being banged about by stalled tropical storm Debby, and other parts of the country are fighting crazed forest fires or being jolted awake by a 3.4 earthquake, one strange item flies in the face of all that: Gasoline prices have dropped by nearly 15 cents a gallon since early June.
And who’d figured that just a few short weeks ago?
Although those lower fuel costs are way-nifty, the savings off declining prices are still not being used in the general economy as people are still scared about all kinds of ugly shit, not only with bad weather and fires, but just being deep inside “…a pretty bleak situation to begin with” as overall confidence in the toils of this modern life declines.
The problem is getting and keeping a job with decent wages — cheap gas will just make folks act cheap.
(Illustration found here).
Yesterday, I put another $20 in the old Jeep, and lo and behold, the price had dropped to $3.99 a gallon for regular, which came as a shock.
The first time the cost has been below $4 a gallon since at least early February.
And right now that’s a 25-cent drop in just two weeks.
Nationwide, pump prices have fallen nearly 15 cents to an average Friday of $3.48 a gallon for regular — the lowest in Mississippi at $3.03. the highest in the lower 48, of course, out here in California at $3.95.
According to Reuters, although oil prices have risen somewhat, the overall emphasis is on a down:
Brent crude recovered from two consecutive weeks of losses to hit a high of $91.75 a barrel.
The contract rose 41 cents to $91.39 by 0359 GMT.
U.S. crude rose 48 cents to $80.24 after rising to a high of $80.68 a barrel.
The front-month contract posted on Friday its biggest weekly loss since the week to June 1.
Oil is on track to post its biggest quarterly fall since the financial crisis in 2008 as the euro zone crisis and weak growth in the United States roiled global markets and threatened to derail fuel demand while ample supply from OPEC capped price gains.
And though these lower prices are expected to create a type of ‘tax cut’ and a form of stimulus for consumers, the stupid US economy is keeping all this extra cash in the wallet, purse, or under the mattress.
Even with customers at the liquor store I manage, business has stayed dropped — there’s just not the foot traffic found in 2007 and the fewer people have less money to spend.
Although in the business of cigarettes and booze, we’re most-likely doing better than most other businesses that are a real train wreck in the current economic climate.
From Bloomberg on Friday:
A slowdown in payrolls and unemployment above 8 percent have damped consumer confidence, which may keep restraining sales at companies from Darden Restaurants Inc. (DRI) to CarMax Inc. (KMX)
Waning demand, together with concern about Europe’s debt crisis and U.S. fiscal policy, helps explain why the Federal Reserve last week extended a program to keep borrowing costs low.
“Consumers are staying cautious,” said Michael Hanson, a senior U.S. economist at Bank of America Corp. in New York.
“Job growth is sluggish and overall compensation hasn’t been great. The economy is decelerating.”
Employment has decelerated each month since January.
Payrolls rose 69,000 in May, the weakest this year, after a 77,000 increase in April.
The jobless rate climbed to 8.2 percent from 8.1 percent.
Average hourly earnings grew 1.7 percent from May 2011, the smallest rise since December 2010.
And the phrase, ‘step on it,’ won’t work with the word, ‘decelerate,’ tagging along.