High oil prices affecting consumer goods, nearly everything else too
Oil prices surged $11 on Friday, hitting a new record high of $138.54 a barrel. Over the weekend the average price of regular unleaded gasoline around the U.S. also surged to new high of $4 a gallon. Unsurprisingly, folks in rural areas are taking the largest hit to their incomes from gas prices due to sparse or nonexistent public transit, longer distances to commute, and reliance on larger vehicles like trucks. “This crisis really impacts those who are at the economic margins of society, mostly in the rural areas and particularly parts of the Southeast,” said Fred Rozell of the Oil Price Information Service. But drivers aren’t the only ones taking a hit from high oil prices. Businesses making consumer goods out of petroleum are seeing their profits plunge, leading many of them to raise product prices and take other measures to absorb losses. Practically everything derived from petroleum products — from cosmetics to conventional household cleaners to tires — has been affected, and companies are starting to feel the pinch, which means consumers are too.