Why little Susie can expect shale in her stocking

November 6, 2014

As the Saudis’ surprise price cut continues to roil the world’s oil markets, prices for Brent crude have fallen precipitously, off 30 percent since a June high. With holiday shopping and travel just around the corner, what could be better than $3.00 a gallon gas?

“Cheaper crude is a boon for the U.S. economy, with U.S. drivers saving about $250 million a day on gasoline compared with mid-June, according to AAA. This leaves consumers with money to spend on other items, especially as the holiday shopping season starts,” The Wall Street Journal said on Tuesday, the same day that the Associated Press declared that the price break “will likely give the world economy an unexpected stimulus.”

So little Susie can expect a sweet chemistry set for Christmas, right? Not necessarily. As this Reuters graphic shows, since the beginning of 2006, to a fairly amazing degree, fluctuations in gas prices have been met with corresponding surges and declines in the percentage of trucks and SUVs purchased.

Alas, instead of providing chances to improve family finances or give the environment a break,¬†past gas discounts have proven to be testaments to the resiliency of consumers’ ability to unimaginatively fuel their spending habits.


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