The numbers at the pump down at Sunny’s Sunoco are spinning fast, these days. And getting faster all the time. He’s pumping regular at $3.19 a gallon, this morning, a big jump from just two weeks ago, but likely nothing compared to what we’ll see in the months to come.
Curiously, I hear a lot less complaining about fuel prices than I did in 2008, the last time we saw that rapid upward spiral. Perhaps panic will set in again if we start nudging $4 a gallon, but it just seems like most Americans have come to expect that number as an eventual reality. But it’s more than a matter of grin-and-bear-it.
Buyers are fighting back in their own ways. By driving fewer miles, according to government data, and by switching to more fuel efficient vehicles. Some are even considering vehicles that don’t few fuel at all, at least not in the liquid sense. And if fuel prices really do soar to new records in 2011, the pace of change could outstrip even the most optimistic forecasts –though don’t expect American roadways to start looking like those in Europe and Japan.