Rising fuel prices could cramp economic recovery

Bruce Bullock, executive director of SMU's Maguire Energy Institute, talks about how higher oil and gas prices are affecting the U.S. economy.

By Alana Semuels and Ronald D. White
The Los Angeles Times

Consumers are already seeing the fallout from turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa every time they fill their gas tanks. It's what they don't see that's the bigger worry for the U.S. economy.

From the farm to the factory, businesses are facing higher costs to grow the nation's food, ship goods and manufacture products at a time when they're already cautious about hiring new employees or placing big orders. The added burden of sustained fuel price increases could slow the nation's already sluggish economic growth, analysts said. . .

By some estimates, every penny increase at the pump sucks $1.5 billion from household spending nationwide.

"When the price of gasoline goes up, you have less to spend on everything else," said Bruce Bullock, executive director of the Maguire Energy Institute at Southern Methodist University. "When the price of diesel goes up, the cost of everything else you buy at Wal-Mart and Target goes up: your food, your clothing, everything."

Read the full story.

# # #