PBS Business Reporter Says Gas Prices Stress Economy

PBS Nightly business reporter Tom Hudson says that gas prices could short-circuit the nation’s economic growth.

Hudson told WCCO Morning News host Dave Lee that higher prices at the pump derailed the momentum of  economic recovery in the past few years.

Here are Hudson and Lee on the Tuesday’s Morning News program.

  • Wake up

    Yah Think – that was kinda a no brainer. There is absolutely no reason for the rise in gas prices other than pure greed and speculators.

  • Murph

    True,but the hedge funds and others doing this have no concept of INSTANT DEFLATION.Wall Street and some politicians have no idea where the breaking point is for this economy.So I will tell them where that point is! When protesters call for a weekend sans driving, shopping and gasing up ! Put that on top of the already deflated pocket books of consumers,[who are the REAL job creators]! As everyone knows housing values are already bottoming out,credit card interest is sky high and nobody trusts the banks or government help that always gets made unworkable by the banks. So gas and oil prices plus the U.S. economy is within any upcoming 48 hour period of becoming a disaster.The hedgefunds re just hurrying the process and many of them will end up bankrupt for their efforts as they should be.One of the mildest winters on record,full strategic oil reserves and Iran a virtual non factor being hyped to something it is not. The hedgies are on thin ice this time around and they will fall to the very bottom much sooner than they think.They should take a car trip in any direction away from Wall Street to discover the truth before it bites them in their wallets big time!

  • Ricky Racer

    I can remember when gas prices went up during the winter months because they put additives in the fuel to prevent gas line freeze. Now they tell us it goes up in the summer because they add ethanol. Isn’t ethanol suppose to be cheaper than gasoline? If not, why add it?

  • Best3800

    High Fuel prices will be the cancer of our economy for many years to come unless we use alternate sources such as natural gas, electric cars or what ever.Drill baby Drill will won’t do Jack! Tesla Motors may be the car company of the future if they can reduce the prices!

    • missy

      Your premise is flawed. It has been since the regulation of oil drills that the price of gas has risen. President Obama just vetoed a bill for a gas pipeline. The elecric cars you are so fascinated by take more gas/energy to build than they save; parts and manufacturing being shipped overseas, etc… The current administration has pretty much stalled any further drilling or expansion of drilling, so although it isn’t the entire reason gas prices have risen, this is a major factor.

    • Sadew

      Important observations, Andrew. I think the point is most stilcncucy encapsulated in one sentence you wrote above, towit If you want emissions-free innovations, price emissions. I would amplify this by suggesting that if you wish to achieve a specific outcome, it is unrealistic (and frankly wishful thinking) to rely on an inadequately structured market to do your work for you. Reliance of this type suggests either a high degree of complacency or a fundamental failure to apprehend the complexity of society or both. In the end, markets are great tools, but they still need to be shaped by policy and that can be hard work.More generally, while it may be possible to set forth a few plausible statements of principle about the way markets function (eg scarcity leads to increased prices in light of continuing high demand and increased prices lead to a search for substitutes ), the outcomes arising out of the interactions between resources, technological innovation and markets over time are fundamentally unpredictable. Thus, if societies (or more precisely groups within societies, whether local, regional or global) wish to at least shape the field of possible outcomes in a context where markets are some of the key tools available to us, the proper conceptual space in which to operate is that in which social norms are formed and, in the case of the modern state, regulatory powers are exercised. (Obviously, I don’t accept the fundamentalist idea that free and open markets are themselves desirable outcomes markets are tools; important tools, but tools nevertheless.)Given this, regarding carbon emissions, the best way to proceed may be by getting adequate societal agreement to put a price on all carbon emissions in order to better shape the market for energy (as your remark quoted above suggests). Then, as non-carbon substitutes come to the fore in light of a market that discriminates against high-carbon outcomes, it will be necessary to be ever-vigilant and to deal with the deleterious consequences of some or all of those substitutes too; all in a never-ending process of adjustment.Alternatively, another possibility would be to coax into existence social norms that stigmatize excessive carbon emissions. Thus, even where the price of carbon remains low’, it may well be possible to stigmatize its use through non-market social mechanisms. Such a process might mirror the growth of the organic food industry in North America and Europe which has operated through a scheme of moral choices, combined with follow-through by markets that developed in order to cater to those choices (ever more efficiently), providing options that fit within the zone of acceptable moral bounds.Returning to your original thesis, then, because of the complexity of social and economic realities, without a much more detailed picture of the world over time (which we will never have), I agree that it is impossible to state what impact specific prices of carbon will have on the anthropogenic emissions of CO2 into the atmosphere (I’m not sure that you would state your thesis in this manner, so I may be taking some liberties). We do know however that, if we can achieve a consensus to limit those emissions by such means as are available, and are willing to make the efforts required to do so, the outcome that matters CO2 levels in the atmosphere can be influenced profoundly over time regardless of the price of carbon.

  • bush's fault

    I’m so tired of our Pres. Bush and his oil company friends running up the prices.We have to vote him out!!!

    • Brently

      Well played sir.

  • Hank Rearden

    0bama is going to save us with algae. NOT!

  • Brett

    Gee, I just don’t know how I would get through the day without a “PBS expert” like
    Tom Hudson to tell me that high gas prices are bad for the economy.

  • Vera

    Interesting article, alugothh I’m not sure I follow your main argument. You seem to be saying (and correct me if I’m wrong) that high oil prices are bad for the environment because they make things like oil sands and shale gas profitable. I follow that part, alugothh (as you point out) high oil prices also provide incentives to develop alternative energy technologies. But then you say that low oil prices indicate that either we’ve found a cheaper way of extracting oil (which you suggest would produce lower GHGs) or we’ve more or less switched off oil. The first part of that doesn’t make sense to me, because most GHGs are produced by burning fuel (not producing it) and lower prices will mean higher consumption. In any case, I think this scenario is not realistic, since we aren’t going to find magical ways of extracting unconventional oil and gas as cheaply as conventional: it inevitably takes more energy because it’s a lower quality deposit (and we’re unlikely to discover more giant conventional fields). The second part (we’ve switched off oil) seems like an outcome for the distant future which would have to be preceded by higher oil prices. We’re not going to magically switch to cleaner technology if oil is at 30$/bbl without massive govt intervention.So, living in the present (as opposed to the distant future), low oil prices (which are a bit hard to imagine) would just indicate higher consumption and less investment in renewable energy. However, I do think that extremely high oil prices would be bad for renewable energy development because it takes energy to develop new technologies and 200$/bbl oil would likely shift a lot of capital to the oil sands. So, I think gradually rising prices would be the best scenario. If some new information hits the market that drastically increases the price of oil (say, Saudi Arabia writes down their reserves and cuts production dramatically), that would be bad.

blog comments powered by Disqus
Thursday Night Football

Listen Live