Here we go again. Never underestimate the consumer’s desire to spend money. It’s true enough that many folks don’t have as much as we once did because wage increases have not kept pace with cost of living, but what little we have will be spent — promise!
When gas prices are at $1.99 per gallon in Oklahoma City and dropping fast in St. Louis and elsewhere, a false sense of wealth comes over us, like that tingling feeling we had when we met the love of our life. The next thing we know, we think we’re crazy rich. Really?
So what happens? Dodge Ram trucks are all the rage. That’s right — big truck purchases are up, and Toyota Prius sales are down. SUVs that look like school buses are all the rage. It’s in style to sit high above the fray in that “butt-kicking” truck with an undeterred view of the horizon and every set of stoplights for miles to come. Gas guzzling is back on the list of things to do, and concerns for the environment and one’s own pocketbook are a distant memory. We are a fickle bunch, we American consumers.
What about the future of Tesla Motors? These folks bet the farm on electric cars becoming the new paradigm. Uh-oh. In direct proportion to the length gas prices stay low is the likelihood of Tesla’s battery-operated cars trending lower online. Americans love us some big ol’ trucks, the bigger the better. Never mind that we’ll take our loans out for 60 to 72 months, thus betting against gas prices going back up. Nope, we don’t think like that. It’s about today, baby! Live for the moment.
Let’s play some Jeopardy. Alex Trebek would say the category is “Irresponsible Consumers,” and we would say, “Irresponsible Consumers for $200, Alex.” Our irreverent host would respond with, “The likelihood gas prices will stay low for a long period of time,” and we would answer with “What is: Probably not?” Congratulations! Our right answer would earn us $200 that we could put towards the future cost of gas to operate our newly acquired behemoth vehicle.
Be smart. Be frugal. Be reflective and look ahead. In our heart of hearts, we know that gas prices will go up, and the spending we’re doing today will come back to bite us in the wallet.
Saving some money during low gas prices might be the thing to do. Just because you have it doesn’t mean you need to spend it. When gas prices head back up and that big truck payment becomes a little harder to make, you’ll wish you had saved for a rainy day.