18 November 2008

How’s Your Gas? (Part II)

Last time I wrote about this particular subject, the local north Texas price for a gallon of regular unleaded was at $2.75. And there was much rejoicing. Now, the price stands at $1.79. That’s down almost a dollar in a little more than a month. OPEC will certainly reduce production as a result of sliding oil prices. At some point, petroleum prices will stabilize, but I don't expect to hear too much about it in the media. Crisis averted; move along. Nothing to see here.

I admit that during the summer months, I thought that gas prices would stay high – over $3 a gallon. My wife and I adjusted our driving habits; we assumed that things would stay bad. I suppose that’s a good low-risk assumption to make. It is much safer than betting on low gas prices, and then having to sacrifice one important thing to feed another, namely the car.

This past year’s worth of oil-worry has left me with a question, though: what will the fallout be of the “petroleum bubble”? Obviously lower transport costs are afoot, people will spend less to get around town. But will there be a longer term attitude change in American consumers? I wonder if, when buying their next new car, folks will remember the price of gas in the summer of 2008 and make a choice influenced by that fact and not just the price of gas right now – do a little preventive maintenance shopping, perhaps.

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