It seems like every time you turn on the news you hear another story about rising gas prices.
Supply shortages, drilling difficulties, tension in the middle east, a full moon, a blue sky…there’s always some excuse given for the steadily increasing price of gas. Of course it isn’t just the price of gas that goes up, inflation affects just about everything. But every time we hear a report about rising gas prices our blood pressure goes right through the ceiling. Have you stopped to think about why we have such a guttural reaction to gas prices?
The answer is simple. Rising gas prices don’t just affect how much we pay at the pump, they affect a million and one other things too. Think about it. All the staples that we need to survive will go up in price as a result of high gas prices. Let’s look at a few examples…
Our Food Supply
Sure it hurts when you have to pay more to fill up your gas tank. But you’re not the only one paying more. What about the farmers growing your fruits and vegetables, and the trucks shipping them to your local supermarket? As rising gas prices eat into their profits, what do you think they’ll do? If you said raise their prices you win a prize! They simply pass the added cost along to you and you end up paying more for your milk, eggs, cereal, soft drinks, and everything else.
We all need to take a break and get away from it all once in awhile. But rising gas prices can put a serious crimp in our vacation plans. Day trips and long weekends to drive-able destinations become a lot more expensive. Airlines and cruise lines can be expected to raise their prices or add fuel surcharges to offset the added expenses, so however you travel you can expect to pay more.
The Job Market
Another area that people don’t necessarily think of when considering gas prices is the job market. But if a small business is struggling due to increased fuel expenses they may not be able to hire the extra help they would like to. Or worse they may be forced to trim their budget by letting someone go.
Common sense will tell you that if people are already paying more for gas, food, and other staples then they will have less money left for discretionary spending. That means they may have to delay or cancel purchasing anything from a new big screen TV to the latest novel by the favorite author. Or perhaps they go for a $7 bottle of wine instead of the $15 bottle. Either way, spending less may be a smart move for them but it hurts retailers and small businesses who can ill afford to sustain another blow.