Editorial: Keeping cheaper gasoline cheaper
With the economy in recession, Wall Street markets are plummeting faster than investment firm CEO reputations, ruining retirement packages and sending some into financial peril. But there has been a silver lining in the market crash: At least it’s cheaper to drive again.
What driver hasn't experienced a brief patter of the heart upon seeing gas for less than $2?
Oil has dropped below $50 a barrel after reaching its high price of $140 a barrel just four months ago. That translates into gasoline prices not seen in nearly four years.
An executive with Gulf Oil said this week he wouldn’t be surprised if the oil market, having been driven by speculators to record highs, overcompensates on the way back down — maybe to as low as $1 a gallon. We’ll believe that when we see it.
Still, as welcome as it is to fill the tank on $20 again, it’s important for drivers to remember the pain of $50 fill-ups. The outrage at such high prices fueled a collective movement among motorists to drive less, carpool, trade in SUVs for fuel-efficient models, drive slower — anything to conserve valuable gas. The result has been a significant drop in the demand for oil, which, combined with the general Wall Street decline, drove prices down.
It’s easy to forget about the need for conservation now that it’s not hitting drivers in the wallet. But if consumers do forget, a reminder will be quick in coming.
As soon as the economy turns around — and it will, as hard as that may be to believe right now — oil prices will increase along with everything else that’s publicly traded. If demand for fuel increases along with the economic turnaround, prices will again skyrocket.
Consumers have the power to stem future price spikes. It’s not easy and it takes a collective effort, but drivers have already learned how to do it. All they need to do is keep it up.