Gas Prices In Florida Continue Down

gray industrial machine during golden hour

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Gasoline selling as low as $1.93 and $1.91 in my part of Florida on Friday. It’s less than a week since gas prices broke the $2 barrier. Welcome to a strange New Year.

Most stations in my area, north of Tampa-St. Pete and near the southern edge of the Nature Coast, are attempting to hold the gas price line at about $1.94. The ground in Florida is sandy, so you can consider that a line in the sand. A line that’s already been crossed. If gas prices break below $1.90 a gallon next week, will it become a price rout? Probably not.

Today I also noticed that one gas station in my neighborhood has closed since Christmas. Closed for renovation or reconstruction? Or closed for good? Or would that be, more accurately, closed for bad?

With both Ford and General Motors going out of the car business, I wonder how many dealerships will close or consolidate this year and next? How many autoworkers will be laid off? For the record, the companies will continue making a few old-fashioned cars, such as the Ford Mustang. And Ford and Chevy will remain very much open for business. But not Buick. Not sure about Cadillac.

American automakers are simply giving up on sedans and focusing on SUVs and trucks, which remain popular and profitable. American automakers are surrendering to Japanese and Korean automakers. Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler can’t compete, or don’t have the will to compete.

Are falling gas prices and rising popularity of large SUVs and trucks mutually reinforcing trends?

With large parts of the U.S. government closed on purpose by U.S. “leaders” and many Federal workers no longer being paid, with automakers and gasoline industries closing facilities and laying off workers, and the stock market . . .

I can’t finish the above sentence. My mind is unable to grasp the implications.

Where is the bottom?

— John Hayden

Advertisements

Gas Prices In Florida Last Day Of 2018

The going rate for regular gasoline in my part of Florida was $1.96 a gallon yesterday, Dec. 30, the penultimate day of 2018. And the temperature today, New Year’s Eve, 80 degrees, bright sunshine, delightful. Cheap gas, sunshine, just another day in paradise. Lest you become too envious, New Year’s Day will be only about 76 degrees, followed by a week or more of moderate or falling temperatures.

Seven-Eleven, WaWa, branded stations, all $1.96. A few holdouts were trying for $1.97 or $1.98; probably didn’t have an employee available to change the price.

(Explanation: The average gas station is fully automated. One human cashier for the impoverished or simply backward customers who don’t have credit or debit cards. The convenience stores have two or three other workers, but they’re making coffee or fast food. They have nothing to do with the gasoline pumps. So what’s the  point? Automation and resulting human unemployment is one reason the price of gas is what it is.)

Then late yesterday evening, I saw a $1.94 !! sign at a Citgo station! And, I spotted a lone Sunoco station still stuck at $2.01. Maybe that station is closed? Maybe it’s been abandoned?

Let the record show that all gas prices have that nine-tenths of one cent tacked on at the end. It’s a strange and antiquated marketing custom of the gasoline business. Bamboozling the customer out of an extra nine-tenths of a penny? People have long internalized the ploy. The extra nine-tenths cent has been on gas station signs since at least my childhood, and that’s more than a half-century ago. So, for the unsuspecting reader from some faraway land, such as Antarctica or Pluto, let it be clear. Yesterday’s $1.96 gas was really a fraction of a penny less than $1.97. And who cares?

Who knows what the price is today, the final day of 2018? Not me. I haven’t been out yet, but I’ll update this post later. It’s probably lower. Since about Christmas, the price of gas has been falling about a penny a day. At this rate, we’ll have $1.50 gas by spring. That is, $1.50 gas, BUT ONLY IF prices go in a straight line. Few trends ever follow a straight line. But you knew that.

Will the stock market follow gas prices? Despite the ceremonial wailing and gnashing of teeth by the wealthy class, who tend to be more emotional about money than, say, poor people, there remains a whole lot of profit available for the taking in the stock market when it reopens on Jan. 2, 2019.

All the profit that was in the stock market on the first day of 2018 is STILL THERE.  Everything that happened in 2018 was fluctuation. Up-up-up, and, down-down-down. Turn around, and repeat. Other words, 2018 was a wash, a big NOTHING. The test is yet to come.

So stock market 2019? Can you say profit-taking? Maybe. Or maybe, more inflation of the bubble? Time will tell.

Meanwhile, who wants to bet that the price of gas will be lower on the first day of 2019 than the final day of 2018? I predict gas will hit $1.90, at least, before it goes back up. But my predictions are worth not even nine-tenths of one penny.

Happy New Year to all, whatever it may bring,

— John

 

Gas Prices In Florida

Gas 1.99

GAS PRICE $1.99 FOR REGULAR IN FLORIDA

Gasoline has broken through the $2 barrier in my part of Florida. The photo was taken late this afternoon, Dec. 27, 2018, a little bit north of Tampa-St. Pete, and not far from the southern edge of the Nature Coast. I doubt that such a low price can be found in any of Florida’s largest cities. And definitely not in the cities of the Northeast or California. Just my guess.

So what does it mean?

Is it a harbinger of general economic meltdown? Could be, but I doubt it.

Will prices remain so low? Probably not, but in this crazy time, who can say?

Will the stock market follow the gas price? Don’t know, don’t care. Don’t own any stocks. Or bonds. Let the buyer beware. I just made that up. You can write it down.

What to do?

Fill up now. Remain calm and enjoy driving while it lasts. Probably not a sign from heaven that you should rush out and buy an SUV with a V8 engine. Just saying.

Gas prices will undoubtedly rebound. Unless they crash.

As you may recall, one of the two reasons I moved to Florida was the lower cost of living. The other was warmer winters. It’s been more often cold than warm this Christmas season. But today, as I was transfixed by that $1.99 gas price, the temperature hit 77. Tomorrow, probably 78. Like the gas prices, I enjoy it while it lasts.

Tomorrow’s gas price?

Only one thing I know for sure. Nobody can predict the future.

— John Hayden

Unemployment and $3 Gasoline in the U.S., Austerity and Street Protests in the Capitals of Europe

BOOK SHIELDS IN ROME. One of many photos circulating in European newspapers and blogs, of protests against government austerity plans. This one shows students in Rome using book-like shields. Tomorrow, you'll likely see similar street theater in London. But only if you have access to European sources.

The beautiful people on CNBC, the Wall Street propaganda channel, chat happily about how high stocks might fly, and the price of gold and oil.  It’s surreal.

Even as they talk, the economy of the Western world is teetering on the edge of chaos. Students protest daily in the capitals of Europe against draconian austerity plans designed to screw the middle class and working class, and especially the younger generations. European governments seem intent on staving off default by cutting deeply into funding for education, arts and humanities. As you can see, ConsterNation is an international state of mind.

You need direct European sources to keep up with events over there. For instance, news and photos of the book protests in Rome can be found at this Italian blog by Italian novelists. If you can read Italian, you could look at their main blog.

Baroque in Hackney reports that students in London will mount a similar protest on Thursday. Ms. B even provides the address where you can go on Tuesday to help make life-sized books for the demonstration, if you happen to be in London. If not, there’s plenty of time to get there by Thursday. It’s a small world, so they tell me.

“With Arts and Humanities a particular target for UK cuts this is a literal display of literary resistance.”  — Ms. B

For more inside information (and videos) from the U.K., you could look at Coalition of Resistance.

Until recently, the U.S. cable channels had been reporting on the debt crises in Greece and Ireland. But as the contagion threatens to spread throughout the southern half of Europe, coverage in the U.S. has all but disappeared. You’ll not likely see film or photos of protests in Europe on CNBC, or any other news channel.

Could the U.S. news blackout on European protests be a conspiracy to keep Americans from knowing the extent of economic turmoil, at least until after the Christmas shopping season? When did I become so cynical? Maybe the news blackout is to prevent protest fever from jumping the Atlantic and infecting U.S. students. Maybe it’s to prevent panic.

Let’s go to the NUMBERS.

Even as the beautiful TV people talk, unemployment in the U.S. is 9.8 percent, officially, and possibly twice that much, in reality. Members of the U.S. Armed Forces are fighting and dying in Afghanistan and Iraq, and for their service they will receive a 1.4 percent pay increase, the lowest in many years. The price of gasoline is $2.97 a gallon, where I live, and more than $3, in urban areas. The snow is knee-deep, or higher, in Buffalo, N.Y.; and the temperature is going down to 30 degrees tonight in Orlando, Florida.

LILY HAS AWESOME POWERS OF CONCENTRATION WHEN A DOG BISCUIT IS BALANCED ON HER NOSE.

And Lily, the golden retriever, has about a one-in-three chance of balancing a dog biscuit on her nose, tossing it in the air, and catching it in her mouth. I had to add the true story about Lily and the dog biscuit for a little comic relief.

No one can predict the future. But let me make a few guesses. The temperature will go up later this week in Florida, and the snow will melt in Buffalo, by late spring.

But across America, it is entirely possible that unemployment will remain above 10 per cent and gasoline will remain above $3. For how long? Forever.

And what will the austerity plan agreed to by the U.S. government and the Wall Street tycoons look like? I will not hazard even a guess.

— John Hayden