For the ninth consecutive month, consumers be shopping. Retail businesses reported a .06% sales jump in March, a slight decline from February, but another good indicator that the economy is getting stronger and businesses are beginning to thrive again. In fact, retail businesses increased their inventories for the 14th consecutive month, as the growing profits have led to stronger optimism among business owners. So is there bad news? Of course there’s bad news! Gas prices are ridiculously high and that might spell doom for consumer progress, as every Tom, Dick and Burnsy is spending more at the pump, which means less in the stores.
With the national average for gas prices currently at $3.81, Illinois became the fourth American state – joining Alaska, Hawaii and California – to boast gas prices north of $4. Experts believe that while this is a gradual procession, it’s a warning signal to motorists across the country. The end is nigh, they scream over my blaring iPod, and they’re correct – gas prices will soon be above $4 per gallon in every state. And they will most likely stay there. That leaves us to ask, At what point is enough enough? To which most of us have been answering for the past two years since prices rose above $2 and $3 per gallon. Some experts predict a $4 national average by July, while others predict August. Meanwhile, I predict I’ll be buying new sneakers.
But there might be some relief on the horizon, as oil prices are actually dropping as industry executives realize that we can’t keep up with this pace financially. As people continue to react to higher prices, the price of oil is hurting, which is causing many people in the oil business to adjust to the fact that if their prices are going up, we’re going elsewhere for our energy sources. Hopefully this will make the oil companies show some mercy to the average consumer and bring these gas prices back down to Earth. Haha, just kidding. They’ll just keep the prices the same and produce less oil. Well played, oil billionaires.
- A Massachusetts attorney received a 6-month suspension from the state’s Bar Association after he was busted for attempting to sell term papers to law students for up to $1,200. But of course he didn’t sell any. What law student has money? (CommonWealth)
- A Colorado newspaper ran the lottery numbers from Friday on Saturday, leading a couple to believe that they had won the $4.3 million prize. The couple undoubtedly didn’t mind. (Fox News)
KNOW YOUR STATS
- Compared to 2010, gas prices are expected to rise at least 40% in the summer of 2011, with last year’s national average at $2.76 and this year’s national average projected to be around $3.86, if not higher. Some major cities could even best the national price by 25 cents. So much for that gumball you’ve had your eye on. (Market Watch)
- While the all-time high for the national average was $4.06 in 2008, experts believe that will be topped this year because of unrest in the Middle East and the rebound in the global economy. Meanwhile, the available supply of crude oil is up .04% in the U.S. so absolutely nothing makes sense. (Progress Index)