Saturday, July 26, 2008

Gas Prices Going Down - Is That Good or Bad News?

To most of us the change to a recent downward trend in gasoline prices is great news. However, given the fickle nature of overconsumers and automobile companies, it may not be. How many times have the automobile companies learned that the long-term trend in fuel prices is violently upward, only to go for short-term profits with huge SUVs and high-power engines? How many times have high-income status seekers complained about gasoline prices and then bought those short-term-profit gas guzzlers to maintain their status and keep gas prices high for the rest of us?
Gas prices have started to go down for two reasons, and if we concentrate on those reasons, prices will continue to go down. The most basic reason is that $4.00-plus gasoline (Europeans, stop laughing. We know and appreciate that yours is much higher.) finally encouraged most drivers to cut back on the number of miles that they drive. If you continually evaluate whether a trip is necessary, run several errands in tandem, and drive your car that gets the best gas mileage, total demand for gasoline will decrease as will prices. The other reason for prices going down is that investors, seeing a slight upward direction to stock prices are starting to switch from driving up the market price for oil to investing again in stocks as a better long-term alternative. The problem with driving up the price for oil as an investment is that the resulting high-priced energy drives down all of your other investments, and you end up shooting yourself in the foot (Which you will need after high energy prices make us all walk or ride bicycles.). Of course, increased walking and/or riding bicycles will both decrease the number of total miles driven and start to make us physically fit again, so it's a win-win situation.

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