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Join Date: Dec 2004
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Actual CNN Money Headline: 'Rising Gas Prices Aren't as Bad as You Think' LOL
Gas prices have soared about 15% in the last six months, hitting $3.94 a gallon on average nationwide, and $4.29 in California.
The mood of motorists? Meh.
Partisan finger-pointing aside, polls suggest that most people aren't as worked up over gas prices as they were four years ago, when a gallon of regular hit a national average of $4.11 a gallon. Nor has there been as much clamor for drastic measures, such as tapping the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in Texas and Louisiana.
"I think we all have adjusted," said Lara Clayton of Los Alamitos as she spent nearly $60 recently to fill up her 2008 Lincoln Town Car at a Seal Beach 76 station. "We just don't drive as much and we are careful to combine errands."
That's one reason for the comparative complacency, and economists and industry observers say there are others.
A big factor is that the current run-up in fuel prices has been nowhere near as steep as in 2008, when prices escalated 35% in six months.
Having already seen prices cross the $4 barrier, motorists are less likely to become outraged when they see it happen again, said Michael Sivak, who heads the University of Michigan's Transportation Research Institute. And because the costs of other items have risen — notably food — it stands out less as a household budget buster.
"If we adjust for inflation, gas costing $4 a gallon now is analogous to gas costing $3.72 four years ago," Sivak said.
Another factor is that more people are driving fuel-efficient cars, as older gas-guzzlers are gradually replaced with new vehicles that get better mileage.
Auto sales figures this week demonstrate that trend. Through the first three months of the year, sales of small cars accounted for 27% of retail car sales, said research firm J.D. Power & Associates. Toyota sold a record 29,000 of its Prius hybrids last month, making it the sixth-most popular vehicle in March. More than 40% of the vehicles General Motors sold last month had the smaller four-cylinder engines, a company record.
With more hybrids and four-cylinder engines in the mix, the vehicles sold in February 2012 get nearly 17% better mileage than those purchased in February 2008, Sivak said.
One reflection of that is evident in figures from the U.S. Energy Information Administration and the Federal Highway Administration. Americans drove just 1% fewer miles last year compared with 2010, but the nation used 3% less motor fuel.
That may help explain the results of a recent Washington Post poll. Asked whether "recent price increases in gasoline caused any financial hardship for you or others in your household," 63% of the respondents said yes. That's well below the 77% that answered yes during the price surge of 2008, and it was the lowest affirmative response to the same question in five years.
Still, Americans are feeling the pain, and if prices cross the $5-a-gallon line, there could be a lot more furor. Gallup polled drivers last month and found that about 14% said that even gas priced under $4 a gallon forced them to make lifestyle choices. And 28% said a price point in the $4 range caused them to reduce spending in other areas.
But the tipping point comes above $5, at which level 76% say they would start changing spending habits. With the national average for regular gasoline still under $4 a gallon, Gallup said its data suggest that "there is room for a considerably greater increase in gas prices before Americans say prices will begin to have widespread, serious consequences on their spending and lifestyle patterns."
During previous surges, high gas prices ate into sales at fast-food restaurants and discount retailers such as Wal-Martand Dollar General.
Back in 2005, when California gas prices were in the low-to-mid-$2 range, both consumers and politicians were more vociferous with their complaints, especially in California, where, because of refinery and fuel blend issues, prices are higher than in other regions. The House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee on energy and resources even held hearings in Long Beach.
In 2006, the Federal Trade Commission launched an investigation to look at whether rising gas prices were the result of antitrust violations by oil companies or refiners. It eventually concluded that the increases were based on supply and market conditions.
That same year, the California Energy Commission launched its own investigation, eventually finding that unplanned refinery outages, unusually high fuel exports and tanker troubles — not misdeeds by the oil industry — were the primary drivers behind a springtime price surge.
As prices soared in 2007, state attorneys general jumped into the fray. Florida's Bill McCollum said his office was looking at more than 200 complaints about price gouging at gas stations. That same year, the House approved a bill that made gasoline price gouging a federal offense.
This year, motorists are essentially saying, "We survived and moved on," said Jeff Spring of the Automobile Club of Southern California, which closely follows fuel prices.
Activist Jamie Court, president of Consumer Watchdog in Santa Monica, calls it "capitulation."
"After you get bonked on the head by $4 and $5 gasoline enough times, maybe it doesn't hurt as much," Court said.
Yet Court said he believes there's still plenty of consumer angst bubbling under the outward signs of resignation, and that the public still views oil companies and their executives with disdain.
Long Beach City College education teacher Lee Douglas copes by filling his car every time the tank dips below half. The tab doesn't feel as bad that way, Douglas said as he pumped $40 worth of gas into his Buick LaCrosse in Seal Beach.
"We have gotten to a point of acceptance," he said, "whether we like it or not."
AVALON (CBS) — Catalina Island is known for many things… its picturesque scenery, seafood and hiking, to name a few. But what about high gas prices?
For the past two weeks, gas prices on Catalina Island have been an average of $7 a gallon.
Stacy Dizon, who works at the Santa Catalina Island Co.-owned gas station on Pebbly Road, tells CBSLA that a gallon of regular unleaded on Saturday was $7.03.
(credit: Ivan Hernandez/Avalon Marine Dock)
The gas station is one of two service stations catering to the island.
About 1.5 miles away, Ivan Hernandez at the city-owned Avalon Marine Dock says the price of regular unleaded is $6.90 a gallon, down 10 cents from Friday.
While some residents may be feeling the pinch, many aren’t complaining.
“There’s not a lot to complain about when we’re living on an island,” said Catherine Rogers, a server at Original Jack’s Country Kitchen.
Rogers has lived in Avalon for 33 years and tells CBSLA that she doesn’t hear a lot of complaints about gas prices since many residents walk and those who drive use golf carts to get around, many of which are electric.
On average, Rogers says, those who drive golf carts fill up about once a month.
Tony Gomez, who works at La Paloma, has lived on the island for 15 years. He tells CBSLA that as of last week, the price of a gallon of regular unleaded was $7.10.
As Gomez explains, residents on Catalina Island pay on average about $2 more for gas as compared to prices on the mainland.
As for the cause of the spike in gas prices, residents say they expect prices to be higher since the fuel is barged in.
“It’s not uncommon to see unusually high gas prices in certain remote areas, but of course, $7 gas may be a new high point for almost anywhere in the U.S.,” Automobile Club of Southern California spokesperson Jeffrey Spring said. “It’s a reminder to all of us that this year has been very expensive at the pump for Southern California drivers.”
As NewsBusters has been reporting for weeks, the Obama-loving media - quite contrary to what they did when George W. Bush was in office - are doing their darnedest to downplay the seriousness of the exploding prices people are paying at the pump.
Doing its part Wednesday was CNN Money which actually published a piece with the laughable headline, "Rising Gas Prices Aren't as Bad as You Think."
Gas prices are once again dominating the national debate.
But despite rhetoric, high gas prices aren't hurting as much as they used to.
In 1981, when oil prices spiked following the Iranian Revolution, gasoline represented nearly 5% of the nation's spending, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In 2011, only 3.7% of spending went to gas, even though prices averaged at their highest level ever that year.
Readers might immediately see some holes in the author's thinking.
First, as AAA's Fuel Gauge report shows, average gas prices are 30 cents and roughly ten percent higher than they were a year ago. So, the percentage of folks' total spending related to gas in 2012 will certainly be above 2011's 3.7.
On top of this, American's spending habits have radically changed in the last thirty years. A personal savings rate chart created by the folks at Seeking Alpha perfectly demonstrates this:
Notice that in 1981, the U.S. savings rate was near its highest point in the 50 years covered by this graph. By contrast, in 2008, this rate was roughly zero.
In fact, there were points in the previous decade when the savings rate was negative, meaning people were spending more than they earned.
As such, it's no surprise that as a percentage of total outlays, people were spending more on gas in 1981 than they were in 2011.
The author chose not to address this.
What he did hysterically state, though, was that "People are encouraged to get mad: The media seizes upon the rising price because it makes a good headline."
Really? That certainly hasn't been the case this year compared to what happened when prices were soaring in 2006.
As the Media Research Center reported at the time, ABC, CBS, and NBC in the period between April 12 and May 2 of that year pumped out 183 stories about "skyrocketing" oil and gas prices.
Despite energy prices that are far higher now, we've seen nothing like that media barrage this year.
I wonder why.
But something else to consider is that as the Obama-loving press have excused exploding gas prices with reports like this one from CNN Money, they chose not to wade into what birth control actually costs.
Just imagine how different this entire "Republican War on Women" story would be if within 24 hours of Georgetown University law student and women's rights activist Sandra Fluke claiming contraceptives cost $1,000 a year every media outlet reported that Walmart and Target sell monthly supplies of birth control pills for $9.
How much would this entire yarn have been exposed as nonsense if ABC, AP, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, NBC, the New York Times, NPR, PBS, Reuters, USA Today, and the Washington Post had informed the public that there was a Target three miles from the Georgetown campus selling birth control pills for roughly the cost of two gallons of gas?
No, that wouldn't have been newsworthy.
It's far more important to tell people, "Rising gas prices aren't as bad as you think."
Actual CNN Money Headline: 'Rising Gas Prices Aren't as Bad as You Think'
Read more: http://newsbusters.org/blogs/noel-sh...#ixzz1rbjv8IMb