Vail Daily’s view: Here’s a welcome bailout by the tankful
Vail, CO, Colorado
As the country muddles through the current recession, too many eyes have turned to the government for help. And the current president and Congress have been far too eager to dole out truckloads of borrowed money, first at consumers, then at the banking system and now, probably, at the domestic auto industry, all in the name of “stimulus.”
Meanwhile, almost completely outside the public sector, the biggest economic stimulus package in a year has been coming our way for the past couple of months. Since October, the price of oil has taken a nosedive. Local motorists who were paying about $4.50 a gallon for regular can now find the stuff for less than $2 a gallon today.
The drop has been even more pronounced on the Front Range, where it’s easy to find go-juice for less than $1.75 a gallon.
Let’s put that in perspective:
Let’s say a family runs its two vehicles through 35 gallons of gas a week to cover commuting, kid-hauling and errands. At $4.50 a gallon, that’s $157.50. At $2 a gallon, the same family spends $70 a week for transportation. The price drop has put another $87.50 a week into a family budget. If prices stay down for even six months, that’s more than $2,200, a lot more than the government handed out with its misguided “stimulus” package earlier this year.
That kind of money can go toward dinner, clothes or maybe an upgrade to the home computer or TV.
The question, of course, is how long prices will stay down. The same avaricious speculators who drove the price of oil toward $150 per barrel last summer are the same people who are pushing the price today below that of warm spit. It’s hard to tell what the markets are going to do. The guess here is that a combination of less demand for gasoline and a slumping economy took the price of oil down, and that price will stay down as long as the world’s economy is in the doldrums.
We all want the economy to improve, but we can do our part to keep oil prices down by doing what we can to use less of the stuff when it’s cheap as well as expensive. If we do that, it might be a few years before the price of gas heads toward $5 per gallon again.