Filler ‘er up |

Filler ‘er up

Don Rogers

The stock markets are thriving, the economy rolling along. Things are going so well in America that the AAA predicts that this Fourth of July will set travel records for the date.

The auto club expects 40.3 million Americans to travel 50 or more miles for the three-day weekend, a 2.8 percent increase over last year for the holiday. More travelers will fly for this holiday than they did last year, 4.2 percent more.

Of course, these are all predictions, not quite fact yet. But AAA projects our Fourth of July traveling will exceed even Thanksgiving this year.

And we’ll spend quite a bit more for gas. Oil prices closed Monday over $60, the highest ever. A USA Today chart shows a steady climb from $49 on May 23 to over $60 on Monday.

Between the demand worldwide for oil, thanks in large part lately to China’s big boom, and refineries running full tilt, prices are not likely to go down. USA Today’s report Tuesday cites oil prices rising 39 percent since the end of 2004 and 67 percent from a year ago.

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Yes, adjusting for inflation, it’s all still well short of 1981, when oil cost $80 a barrel using today’s dollars. But still …

You have to wonder how soon a new record will arrive at this rate. The princes must be very, very pleased indeed.

And you have to wonder when the soaring cost of fuel starts putting the brakes on our economy.

I’m surprised we’re doing so well now. Imagine, setting records for the price of oil AND setting driving records. How can this be?

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