Summer is typically the time when gas prices jump, making seasonal vacations, travel and even the daily commute a bit more challenging as temps heat up. But political unrest in the Middle East fueling global insecurity about oil availability, means normally high gas prices could go even higher, leaving even less money for basic needs (and many families squeezed) during these hazy days of summer.
According to a new report from The Huffington Post, “For every $10 the typical household earns before taxes, almost a full dollar now goes toward gas, a 40 percent bigger bite than normal. Households spent an average of $369 on gas last month. In April 2009, they spent just $201. Families now spend more filling up than they spend on cars, clothes or recreation. Last year, they spent less on gasoline than each of those things.”
Americans shuttered (and sputtered) as gas prices rose well above $3 per gallon. Now, experts are saying that we’re in for another “crude awakening” as the price of oil is poised to push $100 a barrel after a global economic rebound sent it surging 34 percent in the past year. Later in the summer, this surge could send fuel prices soaring to well over $4 a gallon in some parts of the country.
“As Memorial Day weekend opens, the nationwide average for a gallon of unleaded is $3.81. Though prices have drifted lower in recent days, analysts expect average price for 2011 to come in higher than the previous record, $3.25 in 2008. A year ago, gas cost $2.76.”
These increases will mean airfare, shipping, and food costs (not to mention commuting) will all become more expensive endeavors in the coming months. Economists are even saying that these rising energy prices will ultimately slow the country’s already tepid economic growth.
But these prices also hit close to home for many families already reeling from the current economic malaise. Even as the economy recovers, and more companies are hiring, average Americans are not receiving the raises in income they would need to keep up with the meteoric rise in fuel costs. Like so many scenarios in the new economy, this latest bite into a family’s budgetary pie can mean “going without” or, worse, “getting behind.”
For one family, chronicled in The HuffPost article, it can mean a true lack of freedom, financial and otherwise: “Alex Martinez, a senior at Arcadia High School outside Los Angeles, said his family's trips to San Francisco, which they usually take once or more a year, are on hold. As he stopped at a gas station to put $5 of fuel in his car – not much more than a gallon – he said the high prices are crimping social life for him and his friends.‘We're always worrying, `How are we going to get home. We've got less than half a gallon left,’ Martinez said. ‘We definitely can't go out as much, and we can't go as far.’"
In these rough and tumble tough economic times, wherein rising oil rates are exacerbating other economic pressures on already beleaguered budgets, it may be time to turn to a more definitive option: buying yourself some breathing room with a better financial future through bankruptcy. If you have been affected by the economy, the housing market, or even troubles with your gas tank, and are wondering how to get back on track, knowing a qualified bankruptcy attorney can also help you face your financial fears, yielding the right kinds of support, information and insights—at a low cost— for a viable and secure future beyond the latest global oil crisis.
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