Saturday, April 19, 2008

"Florida sees $4 gas, and higher soon"

Read it and weep.

A recent government report predicts fuel prices will peak nationwide in June at $3.60 a gallon, up 60 cents from a summer ago. That will be enough to reduce overall gas consumption during the summer driving season -- a rarity not seen since the 1991 recession and one with broad implications for South Florida's tourism industry.

The Florida Keys depend on vacationers making the long drive down the island chain, and tourism officials there are already blaming high gas prices for a slowdown there. Broward depends on drive-in vacationers from around Florida in the summer, though Europeans are expected to cushion the blow for Miami-Dade hotels.

Max Alvarez has seen the higher prices cut into revenue at the dozens of stations his company owns and manages throughout South Florida. Demand is down about 15 percent over a year ago as motorists cut back on fill-ups.

''The motoring public is trying to save gas as much as they possibly can,'' said Alvarez, owner of Sunshine Gasoline Distributors. ``They're not so willing to drive around as they once were.''

Alvarez said his stations have not passed on the almost daily increases they're seeing in wholesale fuel prices for fear of driving down demand more. The closest any of his stations have gotten to the $4 mark is $3.79 for premium.

That's below the regional average of $3.88 for premium. If South Florida prices stay on pace with the past 30 days, premium will hit $4 a gallon sometime around May 8.

Oh, and do pay attention to John McCain.

...we are in very challenging times. We all recognize that. Families are sitting around the kitchen table this evening and figuring out whether they're going to be able to keep their home or not. They're figuring out whether they're - why it is that suddenly and recently someone in their family or their neighbor has lost their job. There's no doubt that we are in enormous difficulties.

I think if you look at the overall record and millions of jobs have been created, et cetera, et cetera, you could make an argument that there's been great progress economically over that period of time. But that's no comfort. That's no comfort to families now that are facing these tremendous economic challenges.

But let me just add, Peter, the fundamentals of America's economy are strong. We're the greatest exporter, the greatest importer, the greatest innovator, the greatest producer, still the greatest economic engine in the world. And, by the way, exports and free trade are a key element in economic recovery. But these are tough times, tough times, and nobody knows that more than American families including in small towns of Pennsylvania. They haven't lost their fundamental religious beliefs, their respect for the Constitution, their right to bear arms. They are still - keep America as a beacon of hope and freedom throughout the world.

Excuse me, but didn't Senator Obama say something like that and get into deep doo-doo?

I don't want to put words into the Senator's mouth, but even though McCain didn't use words like bitter and cling, his message and inferences were exactly the same.

Pot. Kettle. Black.

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