NC State’s Dr. Mike Walden – The Magic Price of $4.25

Everyone is focused on rising gas prices. Concerns are now being raised that the higher fuel costs might end the good news we’ve recently received about the economy. Should we be worried? N.C. State University economist Mike Walden responds.

“Well, we should be. … Every cent that gas prices rises takes away a billion dollars in consumer spending on other goods and services. And most of that billion dollars is going to flow outside the country. So, that’s a big economic impact.

“Also we see a tie-in between gas prices and consumer sentiment. That is, gas prices go up, consumers feel more glummy. They feel upset. Consumer sentiment goes down, and that’s important because consumer sentiment is a fact behind buying big ticket items like houses and cars, et cetera.

So, clearly higher gas prices are a drag on the economy. Now one question that’s being asked is, At what level would gas prices have to get to such that that drag on the economy also could be strong enough to pull the economy down potentially into another recession? And economists right now are saying $4.25 seems to be a magic level. If we get gas prices to $4.25 and they stay there — or indeed if they even go higher — then I think the worries about the sustainability of the economic recovery we’re in will actually get heightened.

“Now there’s been one helpful factor, … and that is, if other energy prices — like (that of) natural gas — have actually been going down, but this obviously has less impact as the summer approaches. is dedicated to serving the agricultural industry in the Carolinas and Virginia with the latest ag news, exclusive regional weather station readings, and key crop market information. The website is a companion of the Southern Farm Network, provider of daily agricultural radio programming to the Carolinas since 1974. presents radio programs, interviews and news relevant to crop and livestock production and research throughout the mid-Atlantic agricultural community.