So not to send you into a tail spin of panic or anything, but I've seen predictions out on the blogs that oil prices, currently somewhere around $56 dollars a barrel, are supposed to nigh on double by this summer -- hitting somewhere around $100 dollars* a barrel by July, and sending gasoline prices at the pump over well over three dollars a gallon.
Before you scoff, corrected for inflation, that would be, I'm thinking, somewhere around what prices were in 1981. (Those of you who can actually do math should feel free to correct me.) You'll remember, of course, what those price did to our economy at the time.
(Here's a chart, though, that shows the correction for inflation as being somewhat lower than that: $2.88 a gallon and not the higher estimates I've seen elsewhere: http://oregonstate.edu/Dept/pol_sci/fac/sahr/gasol.htm. Elsewhere, as I've said, I've seen the corrected-for-inflation rate as three dollars a gallon and higher. This chart sure is pretty, though.)
So anyway: Atrios asks this question today on his blog: ( http://atrios.blogspot.com/) At what point will higher gas prices start to influence your lifestyle choices?
When will you sell the Hummer? When will you start biking to the store, or moving closer to your job, or switching to public transport, or not taking the drive out to Grandmas because you just can't justify the gasoline expenses?
Or, in our case, can we afford to send mr. delagar to graduate school this summer after all? It's a hundred and ten mile round trip communute, and and fifty-five of those miles are straight up a mountain. (Course, the other fifty-five are straight down, so it's a wash, but nevertheless...) If gas price get above three bucks a gallon, and he's got to drive up there five days a week, which he will, for a summer course, I mean, yikes.
*This article (http://www.sltrib.com/business/ci_2612567 )in the Salt Lake City Tribune, no bastion of the Liberal Media, attempts to put a positive spin on it, and will only predict a high of $90 a barrel, a high that will be caused, exaults the SLC Tribune by "the nation's economic growth!" So shut up if you're thinking it's anything else. Like maybe "the weakening U.S. dollar" mentioned earlier in the same article. Or an inept bunch of yahoos steering the ship? Or, um, that war in Iraq? (Which doesn't get mentioned at all. ) Or any kind of useless energy policy? Nah! It's because everything's going so well! That's why the ship's about to crash! Everyone knows that! That's why the ship didn't crash when Clinton was in charge! Because Clinton governed so badly! It makes perfect sense! In bizarro world!)