For my part, I touched on some of the expected home- and workplace effects of $3-per-gallon gas, and calculated that gas at around $3.50 per gallon might cost an average family about $125 more per month than would $2-per-gallon fuel.
Well, now that our national average cost-per-gallon of fuel has reached four bucks, I wanted to revisit the topic just a bit. And also point you kids toward this nifty CBS news snippet:
CBS News: Oil Prices Expected to Rise
The clip's only a little over two minutes long; the fairly interesting part hits at about the 1:49 mark. It's there that the reporter graces us with this:
Now, I will profess that I have no idea how much truth is in that little statement. Drawing a straight-line trip from $140 oil to $6 gas seems a bit tenuous to me, but I suppose it could happen.
In any case, it gives me a fantastic chance to update my Excel-powered "Gas Price Stress" scenario. Let's add the $5 and $6 price levels and see what happens to gas prices for my completely-fictional Average Working Family:
And my hopefully-reasonable assumptions:
That's an Ouchie
So if gas hits $5/gallon, our fictional family better be ready: Their fuel expenses will almost tag the $418/month mark. And at $6/gallon, they're spending $501 per month.
These numbers look pretty yucky, really, when you see that they were spending just $167 per month back when gas was two bucks per gallon. (Ah, sweet memories.)
The above numbers assume, of course, that our family's driving patterns and habits don't change as fuel prices rise. Something tells me that's not likely.
For me, the striking thing about all this is that I know too many households who won't be able to absorb, say, the $250/month expense increase which $5 gas would bestow. And that doesn't even factor for the price increases in food and other downstream inflations.
For a great many Americans, the picture being drawn here isn't terribly pleasant.
NOTE: You can download my spreadsheet here. Feel free to play with it to your heart's content.