Energy costs

Date posted: August 19, 2010

There haven’t been too many complaints about gas prices this summer. Are energy prices finally behaving themselves? North Carolina Cooperative Extension economist Mike Walden weighs in:

“Well … they are at least this year. Typically during the summer — most people know this now — typically during the summer gas prices go up. It’s called the peak summer driving season, when people are out there driving more. And if there is not more gasoline to be bought, then the price has to go up. We haven’t seen that this summer. In fact, gas prices have actually trended downward. So that is very unusual. Economists think it is because the fact people are still being cautious on their driving due to the recession.

“Prices still for gas are slightly higher than last year — about 5 to 10 cents. If you look at energy prices overall, they are now taking about 5.5 percent from the consumer budget. This is down from 6.5 percent a few years ago and down from the almost 10 percent of the late 1970s and early ’80s.

“So again we have fairly good news on energy prices. The big question, of course, is will this news stay?”

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