My stories today on gas and oil prices in 2008, and about how many people will have to borrow money or freeze this winter, touched a nerve, judging from your e-mails.
The articles were also published on Yahoo! Finance. Comments started rolling in early this morning.
Writes one reader:
“Thanks for the article. It’s one of the first that truly reflects what is going on outside those who have their head in the sand in New York and Washington D.C. Oil affects everything in our economy from plastic bottles we buy everything in, to the food we eat. Everything takes oil to either make or move to market and a 50 percent increase in the price of it, while maybe not affecting things right away, if left that high as long as it has been, will cause folks to change their spending, which your article explains.
You ought to do an article on how the Fed’s lowering of interest rates has the opposite effect on Home Mortgage rates. Note the change last week was preceded by the market raising Mortgage interest rates 2 tenths anticipating the decreases by the Fed, and up another 2 tenths since the Fed decrease, almost a half a percent in 2 weeks! Who’s going to buy homes or be able to refinance with this kind of adverse interest fluctuation going on! The Fed has no clue how to control things! All they care about is keeping banks (even with their bad lending practices) afloat.”
A reader in Texas writes:
“To suggest that people living in the western states are being “gouged” is an unfair assessment. The price of gasoline is market driven. In California, the state regulates additives used in gasoline. The use of these additives is more expensive to produce, consequently, gasoline is more expensive than in states that do not insist on the same requirements.
“There is entirely too much ‘finger-pointing’ about why we find ourselves in the predicament we are in. A look in the mirror would reveal the curprit. Like in the cartoon Pogo, who said ‘I have met the enemy and he is us.’
“The problem is complex and the solutions are equally complex. To try to assess blame is counterproductive. We all need to be working together to solve this. It will take time. Overall, I agree with the conclusions of the article. What is needed is leadership from the highest levels of government for a massive effort to wean ourselves off gasoline. Otherwise, our standard of living as we have known it will be gone forever.”
“My two cents in your story is that:
The more the dollar goes down the more the oil prices will go up.”
Veronica says this about winter heating bills:
“It is really a sad day when we have to go into debt to pay a non-luxury bill, (or is it now?) especially when we know stockholders are cashing in on this. My sister uses electric heaters, very dangerous with a crawling baby around, so that she can take the edge off the cold. Electric is cheaper for her. Her home is never warm. They only use them when they have to.”
Another reader from Las Vegas writes:
“I really like the article today about the rising cost of gas. I got a $500 check from my grandmother yesterday for Christmas and I immediately thought to myself, wow, that is 10 fill ups at the gas station. I’m good for maybe two months now… Basically, I’m not going to spend it…”
And there was this gem early this morning:
“If you report that ‘relative gas price is still low’, then how can you have a headline like the above? Is it a Roper Poll or a CreditCards.com poll? You guys should get a little more reliable sources before sputtering your negative, liberal agenda forecasts. Sorry, just calling it like I see it. CreditCards.com? Really? Palleeeeezze!”
“With all the media reporting that energy prices are going up it is no wonder that the suppliers are going to raise prices. The media is the reason we are paying 20 percent more then we should be. Hope you people are proud of yourselves.”
Finally, Dylan adds this impassioned response:
“So far this year I have paid over $1,200 to have a 200-gallon oil tank filled twice and we are not even half way through winter.
The American people are getting fleeced everyday; by manufactured outages and shortages. How much money is enough?
In this day and age this should never happen … phone bills, heating bills, water bills … the necessities …. a luxury tax on an automobile; an automobile is not a luxary anymore it is a necessity to get to and from work; especially when you drive 70+ miles a day.
Not only are my heating bills high, but myself along with everyone else is getting the least bang for their buck at the gas pumps.
And we are privy to hearing the same old rhetoric: “The American people are too dependent on foreign oil.” No one had or ever has asked me about “OUR DEPENDENCY.” It should state: The American government and the Oil industry has made the American people dependent on foreign oil.
Our government can spend billions to attack another country; yet cannot take care of it’s own citizens.
I am not sure if this will be read or go into the deleted bin; I just had to vent my frustrations.It sickens me and places an utter taste of disgust in my mouth to know that a few manipulate the outcome for so many.
What has happened to “government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth”? Where has the hope of new opportunities and accountability in governement gone?”
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See related: “Coping with the gas pump,” “Poll: Gas prices will make ’08 economy sputter,” “Poll:Millions will borrow to pay ’08 winter heating bills“, “High winter heating bills, meet credit cards“, “7 tips for paying winter heating bills“