#cheapoil #OPEC #gasprices
The elements of an improving economy may not be obvious to everyone.
But the shrinking price of gasoline certainly is.
In fact, gasoline is as cheap as it has been in many years.
Why is it so cheap and how long are these prices expected to last?
On Thanksgiving Day 2014, OPEC (the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) decided not to cut crude oil production to raise prices.
On top of that, the United States, Canada and other regions are producing more oil, according to an article by Rick Jervis for USA Today. His article appeared in the Tennessean newspaper in Nashville Nov. 23, 2014, prior to the OPEC meeting on Thanksgiving.
Jervis’ article pointed out that while OPEC could still influence the oil market, it doesn’t have as much clout as it did years ago. In fact, a decision by OPEC – whatever that was – would have made the front page of every U.S. newspaper years ago. On Friday, newspapers ran the story but most ran it on the inside, or on the front of the business section.
Sure, we are loving paying less at the pump. It’s real money going back into our pockets. Still, the oil industry doesn’t like these low prices. OPEC was between a rock and a hard spot. If it cut production to raise prices, it would encourage more oil exploration in the United States and elsewhere. Getting oil out of the shale and tar sands of North Dakota and Texas, though it has been a blessing for us consumers, is still more expensive than getting it out of the deserts of the Middle East.
The lower prices are discouraging more exploration here and, as Jervis’ article pointed out, OPEC was keenly aware of that. The oil industry is not in business to give us cheap gasoline, though that has been the result of alternative oil sourcing.
Another big bonus for the United States is that it is not so reliant on countries who may not like us much. Though any new skirmish in the Middle East could send oil prices soaring again, it would also encourage more exploration here.
Also, we are using less oil and gasoline here. Vehicles are more fuel efficient. Many vehicles are only partially fueled by gasoline. Some vehicles are not fueled at all by gasoline. Less demand keeps prices down.
And, as The New York Times recently reported, alternative fuels, such as wind and solar power, are becoming nearly as cost-effective as coal and natural gas. That will trend well toward keeping oil and gasoline prices down.
In the last several years, many of us have been hurt by a troubled economy. We’ve been hurt so badly that we don’t see what’s good about today’s economy.
What should we do? First, put the money you are saving at the gas pump into a savings vehicle. It will take you a while to see financial recovery that way, but it would be a start.
Second, if you truly aren’t feeling the good economy, check out the many other ways there are to make money outside of a job. For one of the best, visit www.bign.com/pbilodeau. You’ll find average people making above-average incomes, and helping others do the same.
Just because you can’t see everything happening in the economy doesn’t mean they aren’t happening. The gasoline prices are obvious to all of us. The rising stock market may not be obvious to all.
The lesson for all of us is to be optimistic about the future. Don’t let the naysayers tell you we are heading for hell in a hand basket. The future looks bright. And, you can make your own future bright by taking action you may never have thought of taking. Go for it! You won’t know what there is to gain until you look for it.