| Central Penn Business Journal
How will the next oil spike affect us?
The last time gasoline prices crested to $4 a gallon — July 2008 — surcharges were tacked on every business service from plumbers to pizza deliverers; entire fleets of trucks sat dormant in company parking lots; folks refused to drive to the grocery store, let alone for summer trips; airlines teetered; and cargo ships jammed the docks at the country's largest ports.
This morning, crude oil futures for delivery in April rose $1.25, to $102.32 a barrel. For a short period this morning, oil prices jumped $2 a barrel. The increases over the past few months are being blamed on the turmoil in northern Africa and the Middle East.
The lead-up to $4 gasoline was fairly steady from 2006 to the 2008 summer; and it plummeted sharply ($1.61 a gallon in December of that year). Since then, it's again been on the rise, (it's 76 cents higher than it was this time last year), and prognosticators say the days of $4 a gallon gas aren't far away. This morning, the average price of gas around Harrisburg was about $3.50 a gallon — within pennies of the highest of the year.
Experts worry Western military action in Libya, along with the increasingly mounting unrest in Middle Eastern countries, will lead to crude supply disruptions.
Are we more prepared than we were in 2008 should those disruptions befall us? Did we ever really recover from the last fallout? What do you see happening to the economy as a result?
Christopher Passante is the editor of the Central Penn Business Journal.