2 Nov 2009, 10:53pm
Oil and gas prices Roads Travel:
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Rising gas prices for a growing economy

Gas prices 110209

Rising gas prices, along with a renewed American appetite to drive, offer yet more signs that the recession has lifted.

The U.S. economy, much of it fed by federal stimulus injections, grew 3-1/2 percent last quarter despite unemployment climbing to a two-and-a-half-decade high. 

Growing also are gas prices, according to Energy Information Administration data. Regular unleaded swelled 26 cents a gallon since last month, and today settled at a yearly high of $2.69 a gallon.

San Antonio prices average $2.53, up nearly 20 cents from a month ago, AAA reports.

‚ÄúClearly prices have risen rather dramatically in the last month,”¬†AAA Texas spokesman Dan Ronan said in a recent statement.¬†“The increase in the last month is adding nearly $4 to the cost of an average 14 gallon fill-up.”

Motorists leapt in earlier this year to help fuel demand, Federal Highway Administration numbers show. After monthly declines in driving since November 2007, American road habits flickered to life in April to log mileage gains since.     

But could petrol prices, which usually bottom out in winter, be at a seasonal peak?

While oil¬†traders will keep eyes peeled for¬†the¬†latest economic cues — such¬†as¬†October jobs, home sales, manufacturing numbers¬†and¬†Federal Reserve¬†policies — crude prices have already slid back¬†several dollars¬†from¬†$82 a barrel just two weeks ago,¬†the Associated Press says.

That prompted one consultant to say, “The balloon of irrational exuberance has been, at least temporarily, deflated.”

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