High Or Low, Gas Prices Stink Either Way

Nothing is certain but death and taxes.

That’s a fairly common adage that I’ve heard for so long.  I really think there needs to be an amendment to that to include the fact that someone is going to be complaining about gas prices, no matter what the cost.

If gas prices go up, the consumers complain.  Nobody likes to pay more for gas than they did at their last fill-up, and when it crosses certain psychological thresholds (e.g. $4/gallon) the complaining gets worse.

So, when gas prices go down, everybody’s happy, right? (Especially the credit card companies that pay rewards for gas purchases)

At that point, then the economists are complaining.  Because low gas prices these days means less demand.  Economists think this means a slowing economy.  Then, Wall Street gets involved and starts selling off stocks because nobody wants to be invested in companies whose stuff isn’t being bought by consumers, and they can all predict this because of the price of gas.

It’s enough to pull your hair out.

It’s almost as if, since gas prices jumped out of the $2 per gallon range and into the $3-4 per gallon range, that they’re in a no-win situation.

As soon as they rise, consumers stop spending in other areas to pay for the gas.  Then, gas falls.  Consumers start spending on other items again. And, the whole mess just goes around in a circle.

How do we get out of it?  Is it possible to have high gas prices as well as meaningful consumer growth?  The last five years have pointed to no end in sight, but there has to be a way.

What is the way out to the cycle that we’ve gotten in with regards to gas prices where either way, the price of gas points to some future bad sign for the economy?

Any thoughts?