Gas Prices Could Cripple Economy

By: Gabrielle Sarann Email
By: Gabrielle Sarann Email

The average price is $3.37 in Valdosta, according to AAA.

And economists say a return to $4 a gallon gas could be worrisome.

During lunchtime at Las Banderas in Valdosta, more folks were eating out.

Stylists at Anthony & Company were seeing more customers.

And at Stage 51 Coffee and Wine House, they were enjoying the latte effect of an economy picking-up.

"We're all spending money on coffees and lunch," said Sherry Wetherington, who was playing bridge with her friends at Stage 51 Coffee and Wine House. She added, "And when I leave here, I've got to go by the gas station and then I'll have to go by the grocery store."

Sherry Wetherington is a confident consumer, open to spending money and buying luxury items.

But skyrocketing prices at the pump threaten to spoil the recovery.

"The more you spend on gas, you would have to take it away from other things," said Ellis Heath, an assistant professor of economics at VSU. He added, "Some might choose to spend the same and save. Some people might choose to spend less on other things."

In 2008 oil prices jumped to $140 a barrel and gas was $4 a gallon.

Heath says if those prices return, everyone will feel the effects, including salons, coffee shops and restaurants.

"The economy is slowing recovering," said Heath. "It depends on private consumption. If oil prices continue to be sustained at a high level, this will hurt private consumption and could threaten the recovery."

Economists say the price of oil is fluctuating because of unrest in the Middle East.

And they hope it doesn't last long enough to affect our economic recovery here in the United States.

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