Here’s Why Cheap Gas Prices May Actually Be a Very BAD Sign for the Economy

By Daisy Luther

If you’ve been to the gas station lately, you probably just about turned cartwheels. I know that my last fill-up was almost $15 less than it was a few months ago, which goes along with a recent report that prices are the lowest they’ve been all year.

While this seems like a great thing, I have some unfortunate news for you. Cheap gas prices can actually be a BAD economic sign.

It boils down to a few things:

  • How this affects the oil industry
  • How great a part of the GDP that the oil industry is
  • How this affects the market

While these plummeting prices are awesome today, they could be the precursor to an oil industry crash. In turn, this could lead to an economic collapse like the one in Venezuela.

Here’s what the economic experts say about cheap gas.

Vipin Arora, an economist with the U.S. Energy Information Administration, did some research that says plummeting gas prices aren’t good for everyone.

The story is essentially about consumption, which accounts for around 70% of inflation-adjusted U.S. GDP. Consumers have greater disposable income and increase expenditures on non-fuel goods and services. These rises filter through to investment and employment, and are counterbalanced somewhat by higher imports. The reemergence of the U.S. as a major oil producer has complicated this narrative: lower prices have a negative effect on production, investment, and employment in oil and gas extraction and related sectors. The question is about the balance between these forces—holding everything else constant, do the falls in production/investment dent or even reverse gains in consumption?

I will argue in this paper that it is possible. The reasons are unsurprising: (i) oil production is a much larger part of the U.S. economy than in the past; and (ii) high debt levels, especially for low-income families, have lowered consumer spending in response to cheaper gasoline prices. Access to credit, particularly home equity loans, has also slowed consumption growth, as has slow wage growth, and an aging population.(source)

So basically, there are two reasons why cheap gas prices may not be so good for Americans:

  1. The oil sector is a much larger part of our GDP than it was before. This means the decreased price affects everyone whose livelihood is related to that industry. From the paper cited above:

    The benefits to consumers could be around $140 billion from gasoline savings. But the losses on the other side due to lower production, less investment, less build-out of infrastructure could be around that amount. So we’re kind of at a wash.

  2. People who are really broke (and there are a LOT of those people) will not realize enough savings to go out and bolster the economy with all of their newfound money. $15 a week (I’m projecting this based on what I saved) isn’t going to make a huge difference to people who are really struggling in a way that will be greatly beneficial to the wider economy.

An article last year from Bloomberg also paints a pessimistic picture about low oil prices:

James Hamilton, my favorite economist to read on energy, has argued that the declining price of oil traces back to three factors: surging U.S. oil production, the return of Libyan production to normal levels, and a slowdown in the global economy…

Texas, North Dakota and other places in the U.S. will suffer as oil prices decline and some of the high-paid jobs in oil production go away. Worldwide, lower energy prices are good for most countries — but they are bad for many places, including some very unstable regimes. Russia will be badly hurt if this continues; so will Iran and Iraq. Venezuela is already dancing on the brink of disaster [Note – remember, this article is from 2016 and Venezuela has fallen right over that brink], and its production capability has been seriously degraded by Chavismo. Cheap oil seems likely to tip the country over into the abyss. (source)

And meanwhile, in the oil industry…

From what I’ve read, the magic number is $40 per barrel. When prices drop below that, oil rigs are actually working at a loss. Today, the NASDAQ has oil at $43 per barrel, so we’re hovering near that danger point. Bank of America predicts that prices will plummet to $30 oil.

Oil industry magazines have some pretty unsettling headlines as well:

Look at this chart from NASDAQ. As you can see, the downward trend tends to go up for a day, then plummet even further than the previous day. One step forward, two steps back.

Last year, we had a similar scare with dropping oil prices, during which Peter Schiff provided an alarming reality check:

We’re broke. We’re basically living off of debt. We’ve had a huge transformation of the American economy. Look at all the Americans now on food stamps, on disability, on unemployment.

The whole economy has imploded… the bottom hasn’t dropped out yet because we’re able to go deeper into debt. But the collapse is coming.

What’s happening is pretty much what we would anticipate. I don’t see from the data any real economic recovery, certainly not in the United States.

We’re spending more money, but it’s not because we’re generating more wealth. We’re generating more debt. We’re using that borrowed money to consume and so temporarily it feels that we’re wealthier because we get to spend all that money… but we have to come to terms with paying the bill.

The bills are going to come due. Right now interest rates are being kept at zero which makes it possible to service the debt even though it’s impossible to repay it… at least we can service it. But once interest rates go up then we can’t even service it let alone repay it.

And then the party is going to come to an end. (source)

At the time, Michael Snyder of The Economic Collapse Blog wrote:

There has only been one other time in history when the price of oil has crashed by more than 40 dollars in less than 6 months.  The last time this happened was during the second half of 2008, and the beginning of that oil price crash preceded the great financial collapse that happened later that year by several months…

…So if you are looking for a “canary in the coal mine”, keep your eye on the performance of energy junk bonds.  If they begin to collapse, that is a sign that all hell is about to break loose on Wall Street.

It would be difficult to overstate the importance of the shale oil boom to the U.S. economy.  Thanks to this boom, the United States has become the largest oil producer on the entire planet.

Yes, the U.S. now actually produces more oil than either Saudi Arabia or Russia.  This “revolution” has resulted in the creation of millions of jobs since the last recession, and it has been one of the key factors that has kept the percentage of Americans that are employed fairly stable. (source)

We never fully came back from last year’s plummet and we’ve headed downhill again. The chickens of our debt-fueled lifestyles are coming home to roost.

Here’s what Schiff has to say:

“It’s interesting that during the entire term where Obama was president, the Fed really only raised rates once. I mean, they raised them a second time, but that’s after the election. Since Trump was elected they’ve already had three rate hikes and they’re planning on doing more.

But the low interest rates were part of the problem. The Fed needs to raise interest rates, but when they do that, the economy is going to collapse. The whole bubble, the recovery was phony…

The reason the Fed is ignoring the weak data is that they’re not afraid of collapsing the bubble on Trump’s watch… (source)

You need only to look at Venezuela to see what an oil crash can do to a country.

(If you aren’t signed up to my newsletter, go here to do so. I’ll be sending out an approximately 70-page analysis on the economic collapse of Venezuela FREE to all of my subscribers later this week. When you look at it all laid out together, it paints an alarming picture of what could be our future.)

Yes, of course, the socialist government there had a lot to do with their economic collapse, but they are still one of the most resource-rich countries in the world. When the bottom dropped out of the oil industry, their currency became all but worthless. The value of the American dollar, too, will fall along with the price of oil, due to the high percentage of the GDP that industry holds.

And look at them. (Here’s a grim, first-hand look from a woman struggling to survive in Venezuela.)

This could easily be America.

Are you prepared for an economy like that one?

I know that I sound like a broken record, but the time to get ready is running out. I want you and your family to have safety and security, regardless of what may come.

Please feel free to share any information from this site in part or in full, leaving all links intact, giving credit to the author and including a link to this website and the following bio. Daisy is a coffee-swigging, gun-toting, homeschooling blogger who writes about current events, preparedness, frugality, and the pursuit of liberty on her websites, The Organic Prepper, where this article first appeared, and She is the author of 4 books and the co-founder of Preppers University, where she teaches intensive preparedness courses in a live online classroom setting. You can follow her on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.

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4 Comments on "Here’s Why Cheap Gas Prices May Actually Be a Very BAD Sign for the Economy"

  1. Of course anything that’s better for the average consumer is bad for some people. And I’ll let you know when I start to feel sorry for oil companies and banks.

  2. These are the same kinds of economists who didn’t foresee the housing bubble popping and the resulting banking crisis from top tier international banker policy directives to approve “no doc” uber high risk loans. They produce analyses in isolated bubbles and don’t seem to know oil prices are hardly true market prices to begin with.

  3. The fact is the US dollar is a petrodollar. The US and it’s owners are going broke. In any normal situation, when the price of oil goes down, all products dependent on oil are in better shape. In a truly competitive market, the price of oil should never go up and down in unison, or other commodities – gasoline, metals, vegetables, … but they do. Even the price of currency is worked under collusion. The whole system, as pre-determined and coordinated as war is under the control of the few for the few and they are putting a death grip on everything by every means possible. Now look at the 2017 Economist first issue this year the the Tarot cards. We will all be wipe out and it’s probably necessary in the view of the few as technology provides for all their need and the cannon fodder are no longer relevant. America has always been a sham. The Deists freemasons of our government were not good people. Look up John Dee and his Necronomicon or MONAS HIEROGLYPHICA. Yes, they are occultists that never gave a damn about the people. It’s one great big joke on what John Adams called the rabble, Woodrow Wilson called feeble minded, Kissinger to Al Haig called the defense stupid animals to shape foreign policy and the rest, useless food eaters. Washington’s mentor Lord Fairfax owned 50 MILLION acres of land in Virginia AFTER the “war”. a masonic one at that, just like the Jacobin and Bolshevik which the US had a massive investment in and the Wilson administration supported along with this Republican and Democratic friends.

    Now a quote from James Traficant in March 17, 1993, Congressional Record for the House H1303 ” Mr. Speaker, we are here now in chapter 11. Members of Congress are official trustees presiding over the greatest re-organization of any bankrupt entity in world history, the U. S. Government. We are setting forth hopefully a blue-print for our future. There are some who say it is a coroner’s report that will lead to our demise.”

    The US has been a corpse that has been voted on to sustain it since 1933 after it went into receivership and the sheeple became collateral (see Edward Mandel House’s explanation to Woodrow Wilson of owning every person as chattel, we live by the law of the sea or admiralty law).

    The only people that will survive the collapse are the pet people the owners want to have survive. The militarized police, DHS and military which are now allowed to shoot (military commissions act) American Civilians (who will be believed as unpatriotic domestic terrorists and subversives), will act just as the Soviet Cheka did in Russia, Ukraine (see some pictures of Holodomor), Poland (1918-1922, and never really quit until the collapse of the Soviet Union which the US was the major stakeholder in – see Jacob Schiff et. al.)

    The only people that want higher prices for oil are those that have all their chips in this commodity. Not to worry, since the whole system is going down in flames as we have become lovers of money and would rather save a buck than think of helping our children, and the future of any part of creation. Why have jobs and a sense of purpose for the next several generations when we can save a few buck by putting another mao-mart in town right now? Why even bother with anything other that a quick buck and jumping from one short term amusement to another as a way of life? AI, Hueristics, Quantum Computing and our heros of police and armed forces will save us. From what? Land of the owned and home of the fearful. Oh, we got to kill all of those skiters before we get some virus of sumthin’ and bail out that standing water that never happened before, and kill everything that grows except the GMO. What’s next? Seedless people, it’s more convenient.

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