Happy with the falling prices at the pump? Fuhgeddaboudit!
That’s what economic wiseguy Matt Lauer suggested to viewers of the August 30 “Today” show, even though oil analysts predict falling gas prices this fall and his own network erroneously predicted $3.50-a-gallon gasoline just a few weeks ago.
“You’re probably feeling a little better these days when you fill up your car at the gas station,” Lauer admitted as he teased a story by correspondent Kevin Tibbles. The “Today” host conceded that “analysts say prices could keep falling for months to come,” but sought to shoot it down by pointing to the pessimistic projections of an auto executive.
Tibbles pointed to a “wake-up call from Chrysler (NYPSE: DCX) CEO Thomas LaSorda,” who said at his company they were “planning internally as if it [gasoline] is $3-to-$4-a-gallon.” Tibbles added that LaSorda “expects prices to remain that high for the rest of the decade.”
Long-term prices could remain that high, but NBC recently projected a gas price spike before summer’s end. Instead, gas prices have fallen more than 18 cents per gallon in a month to $2.823.
As the Business & Media Institute (BMI) reported two weeks ago, NBC’s Jim Goldman told viewers of the August 12 “Nightly News” that gas prices were “expected to soar past $3.50-a-gallon as the summer driving season peaks.” BMI’s August 14 article pointed out that even then those projections were pessimistic compared to other oil analysts such as Trilby Lundberg and Tom Kloza, who predicted more modest gas price increases.
“The only place they have to go is down,” gasoline analyst Fred Rozell told reporter James Healey, adding, “We’ll be closer to $2 than $3 come Thanksgiving.”
What’s more lower gas prices could benefit an economy by freeing up cash for consumers to spend elsewhere. Healey added that economist Richard DeKaser believes lower gas prices “may act like a tax cut” and increase consumer spending that has fallen off due to high energy prices.