Thursday, February 21, 2008

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Americans are not enjoying the relief they usually get from lower oil and gas prices when economic growth slows, posing yet another obstacle for an economy struggling to avoid recession.

Despite the deep economic slump in the U.S., international tensions and disruptions in supply have sent oil prices soaring above $100 a barrel while gas prices are hovering above $3 a gallon — 75 cents higher than they were a year ago. Analysts say pump prices could go higher this spring even though demand for gasoline has flattened in the U.S., the world’s biggest energy consumer.

High energy prices — including record costs for home heating fuel this winter — pose a powerful drag on consumer confidence and spending at a time when the economy needs their support more than ever. Consumer sentiment fell to the lowest levels since the 1991 recession earlier this month.

  • TWT Poll: Which economic issue affects you the most?

    Despite more publicized problems with mortgages and housing foreclosures, consumer discontent with the economy continues to center on high energy prices. People most often cite that as a top reason they believe the economy is bad, and frequently cite it as a reason for spending less and staying home more in recent surveys.

    For more on this story, check tomorrow’s editions of The Washington Times or

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