Rising Summer Gas Prices: Bad News for Consumers

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The latest Retail Sales figures for June show shoppers pulled back spending after continuing weakness in the national job market6s and stagnant paychecks.

It was the third month of consumer cutbacks, but it was not totally unexpected as shoppers think more about summer vacations than fall “Back to School” sales.

But the rise in wholesale oil prices, and gas prices starting to climb again, could potentially put a serious damper on any Fall Spending Gains  the national and Local Economy increasingly needs.

Doral’s Mariana Montessano is like so many other drivers around South Florida. She’s finding her neighborhood gas prices climbing again. She sees her growing Gas Bill at her local gas pumps and says, “It’s Terrible, Terrible…because it’s too high for us to pay”

Rising wholesale oil prices were back up to more than  $88 a barrel Monday afternoon..

That’s boosted average pump prices by about a nickel a gallon in South Florida.

Unleaded Regular” is averaging $3.42 in Miami-Dade, $3.41 in Ft. Lauderdale.

Statewide, it’s up to $3.29 a gallon, beating the national average of $3.39 by a full dime a gallon according to Florida AAA.

AAA reports, “As expected, the price of both oil and retail gasoline increased from last week, however gains at the pump were minimal compared to the initial spike motorists saw in the first week of July. Speculation China will make efforts to stimulate its slowing economy and tightened sanctions against Iran pushed the price of crude oil to settle Friday at $87.10 a barrel—$2.65 more than the week prior. “

The market is still in a balancing act with slow economic growth and tensions with Iran keeping equal pressure on the market,” said Jessica Brady, AAA spokeswoman, The Auto Club Group. “Retail gas prices are likely to inch up again this week, a trend motorists could see continue throughout the month.”

Unofficial prices show a full dollar spread for regular, ranging  between $3.23 for an unofficial low off Miami Gardens Drive, to a high of $4.23 a gallon off Miami International Airport..

Pembroke Pines accountant Tudane Williams says rising gas prices are forcing consumers like him,to start cutting back their budgets again. He worries about the overall impact of consumer cut-backs on the local economy.

“If less people go out to eat, restaurants have to cut back, if they cut back on vacations, they put less money into the economy, it’s like dominoes,” Williams explained.

Oil industry forecasters expect wholesale oil prices should keep climbing thru the near future. While nobody can predict how high local gas prices may go, or when they may start coming down again.

But it’s not hard to figure out if they keep climbing, gas prices will again become a major issue for the fall election along with what the candidates plan to do about it.

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