Planet Money
11:38 am
Tue March 27, 2012

Gas Prices: 3 Reasons To Stay Calm

Originally published on Tue March 27, 2012 8:18 am

In his latest New York Times Magazine column, Adam Davidson questions the populist outrage over rising gas prices. "Americans may protest loudly," Davidson writes, "but their economic behavior indicates a remarkable indifference to the price of oil." Read the full column here.

If gas prices still give you the jitters, here are three more reasons to remain calm:

1) Gas prices are twice as high in Europe

Europeans pay a hefty tax at the pump. They adjusted to $5 a gallon gas a long time ago. Today, they're paying as much as $8 a gallon.

2) We've been here before

Gas prices were even higher in 2008 than they are today.

3) Americans haven't cut down on leisure spending

If high gas prices are taking a bite out of our budgets, it's not showing up in our leisure spending. This study by Lutz Kilian at the University of Michigan and Paul Edelstein of IHS Global Insight finds, "no significant effect on the consumption of movies, bowling and billiard[s], casino gambling and only insignificant declines for recreational camps, sightseeing, spectator sports and spectator amusements."

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