I Believe Consumers Can Affect Gas Prices

Winter is typically the time of year when we use the least amount of gas.  Travel is down because people aren’t doing the amount of vacation travel that happens over the summer, meaning that gas consumption is down.  Since demand is lower, this usually means that the winter sees the lowest gas prices of the year.

Not this year, so far!

I’ve noticed a trend that gas prices start climbing in advance of the summer season earlier and earlier each year.  It used to be that prices would start rising in April and peak around Memorial Day, then level off and start sliding down a bit after the Fourth of July.  The earlier part of those trends moved back a couple of weeks, and this year is no exception.

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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)

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Should I Ride My Bike To Work?

I’m fortunate enough to live about two and a half miles from work.  This is great in that my gas costs are significantly lower than they would be if I had a longer commute.  I once had a job that was sixty five miles each way.  Needless to say, the gas costs were through the roof, and gas was less than three bucks a gallon.

Still, I’ve often considered the idea of riding my bike to work once the spring time weather hits in a few weeks.

Since we moved in, riding my bike hasn’t been an option I’ve been comfortable with for the simple fact of the freeway that lies between my house and where I work.  There is an overpass to the freeway that I would have to cross, and the problem was that there was no bike lane or barrier from the road.  While many brave people on bikes did go over the road, I had no such will to ever do such a thing.

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Looking For A Good Reward Credit Card For Gas Purchases

At the end of last year, I reported that we were the proud owner of a new camper which will become our main source of vacation time starting this upcoming summer.

A few days ago, I started having a mild panic attack when I looked at the gas price situation and some of the surrounding news.  In Michigan, gas prices have gone up around 30 cents over the past couple of weeks.  It seems every year the gas price rise starts earlier and earlier in the year, and the projections get a bit higher for the summer projections.

This year, people are already talking about $5 gas.  Thinking about the cost associated with towing a camper, it seems that any ‘savings’ we are getting on paying for cheap campground accommodations would be negated by higher gas prices.  The vehicle we tow with gets about 20MPG regularly, and I’m assuming that will drop significantly given that we’ll be towing another several thousand pounds.

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Gas Prices Keep Going Up, And Nobody Can Say Why

Last week’s gas price report from AAA showed that gas prices went up to a 28-month high.

This was in spite of the following three factors:

  • The price of a barrel of oil has fallen
  • Demand for gas has fallen
  • Supply for gas has risen

Any one of these factors is usually enough to bring prices down or, at the very least allow them to remain steady, and when all three factors are in play is usually when prices go down.

But, that’s not happening.

I think that there is more at play here.  I think oil companies are getting a jump on the spring season by raising prices now.  Traditionally prices start to ramp up in preparation for the summer driving season, but even though we’re still in winter, that trend apparently has kicked off.

Maybe this will mean that we won’t see a big rise in prices around Memorial Day, which is when they often peak, but I’m not holding my breath.

I think there’s a different reason for the price increase.  I believe that oil companies will continue to raise prices as much as they can get away with until it actually starts affecting the economy.  The oil companies know that as long as the economy keeps getting better that they have some wiggle room in which to raise prices.

They’re probably going to continue to test the limits until they decide that there’s a ceiling at which consumers will start ‘cutting back’ significantly.  Until they find that ceiling, prepare to be manipulated and for higher prices at the pump.

Do You Drive Differently Depending On Gas Prices?

It’s interesting to see the ‘flavor of the day’ when it comes to spending and saving money, and the tips that go along with that.

Most of us certainly remember the days a couple of years back when gas was $3 – $4 per gallon.  It seemed that every other personal finance ‘how to’ article was about the best ways to reduce your gas usage.

Now that gas prices are (for the most part) in the $2 – $3 per gallon range, it’s interesting to see how few of these articles actually populate the personal finance blogosphere.

I know that I still try to keep an eye on fuel efficiency, though I will admit that I’m not as regimented about it as I would be when the prices go up.

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