Thursday, February 17, 2011

Americans are feeling gas prices at the pump, but how does the financial pinch translate in everyday life...and why is it happening?

SHOOT: Who is to blame for high gas prices? Do you drive a car? Then you're to blame! PETROL prices have risen steeply in rich countries, triggering heated arguments about whom or what is to blame. America’s energy department recently blamed a jump in petrol prices of 3.1 cents per gallon in the space of seven days on the political unrest in Egypt affecting crude oil prices. Japan’s government blamed the high price of crude oil for its tenth weekly price increase at the pump. The British government has given the same explanation for price increases averaging 15% in the year to January. But with the oil price still at only two-thirds of its peak in mid-2008, this is not the only cause—as the three charts above show.

SHOOT: But what does this all mean for consumers on a day to day basis? Well, quite a lot...

Because of the gasoline prices, Yaeger said she had to stop attending Saint Aloysius Catholic Church in Tulare and is forced to attend Holy Cross in Porterville.
“We had to cut way back and have given up things I enjoyed — the church in Tulare and horse shows in Sanger,” Yaeger said. “I used to go to horse shows once a month. That had to stop. I cut that out eight months ago.”
Mildred Pierson of California Hot Springs echoed her sentiments.
“We go out only when we have to,” Pierson said. “Now it’s just for meetings, groceries, doctors and gasoline.”

Corwyn was not the only person at the pumps concerned about the gasoline prices.
“We’re cutting way back on driving,” said Leah Yaeger of Terra Bella. “I used to come into town all the time, now I come in three or four times a week. That’s it. That’s my limit. I fill up, get groceries, get lunch and go home.”

SHOOT: We're starting to cut down to the bare essentials.  And after that?

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