From California, petro-noia Hits America

By: Lauren Woods

Gasoline prices continue to increase. And as the gasoline prices continue to creep above $3 a gallon, auto owners could feel the heat of 'petro-noia.'

Petro-noia is here once again and it is said to be more infectious and contagious. From the state of California, 'petro-noia' is now motivated to infect the entire American nation.

Earlier, gasoline prices in some parts of California and Hawaii have jumped over $3 a gallon. Moreover, analysts predict that the gasoline epidemic could also infect the whole nation. Hence, they added that drivers should brace for more increases as summer travel and driving season nears. The paranoia is not as simple as remedying an minor hitch. It is pretty much injurious to the whole business industry.

"It kills me," said Gloria Nunez, 53, an owner of a Ford Explorer SUV. "All of a sudden you kind of have to watch your pennies." Nunez, a clerk for a communications company, has started working a couple hours of overtime each week to help soften the blow.

Analysts added drivers should brace for more increases in the coming weeks. This is because crude oil, which makes up about 50 percent of the gasoline price, is trading above $60 a barrel. Moreover, other factors like higher demand, plant maintenance and fears about potential springtime shortages are also increasing gasoline prices.

"The West Coast will certainly be the wild, wild West this year," said Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst for the Oil Price Information Service. According to analysts, wide-ranging maintenance demands at the West Coast refineries have curtailed supplies and aggravated the usual "preseason rally." This is spurred by anxiety about tight supplies. "In the rest of the country, it's just petro-noia. They're worried that they won't have enough gasoline," Kloza added. "But on the West Coast the concern might be warranted."

"Anytime oil prices shoot up over $28 a barrel it can lead to high prices at the consumer level," AAA Nevada spokesman Sean Comey said. "This is a serious cause for concern because February is typically the time of year when we see low and relatively stable prices. Last year, prices were high because of the onslaught of war and, this year, the fact that prices are about to set new records is kind of frightening."

"Analysts are telling us $3 a gallon is a possibility this year, but other factors that are not present now would have to come into play to trigger such a regrettable scenario. We are just one refinery accident or one pipeline disruption away from gasoline prices skyrocketing even more," Comey added.

Bill O'Grady, the futures research director for A.G. Edwards in St. Louis, said that consumers are unlikely to change their driving habits drastically at this point. But, he added, if gasoline prices go beyond $3 per gallon, some soccer moms might think twice about buying that Hummer. "People will be upset by having to pay more, but if you look at it, it is not enough to change consumer behavior. There would have to be significantly higher prices to change behavior," O'Grady added.

AAA's Comey suggested that consumers should shop around for the best prices and check the tire pressure in all vehicles.

Top Searches on
Mileage and Fuel
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 

» More on Mileage and Fuel
 



Share this article :
Click to see more related articles