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High gas hurting business?

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May 24, 2004

Albany-- Escalating gas prices are draining more than our wallets.

The spike in gasoline might be having a negative effect on your neighborhood shops, too.

Animals of every kind are welcome at Paw Prints and Pineapples. But, the two legged variety are not coming in as often lately. Store Owner Stephanie Drawdy says, "It's um, kind of tapered off in the past few weeks, for some reason or another."

Stephanie says sales are off a bit and she thinks she knows why, "Some of us have theories on gas prices like everyone else and also some customers have come in the store and said things like 'I'll come back next month and get that because my budget is running real tight because of gas prices.'"

Gas prices are reaching into the $2.00 range for the higher octane fuel--giving Stephanie's theories some credence.  Darton College Economist Dr. Amit Singh says, "See the rule of thumb we use in the economy is for every penny the gas price goes up we lose about one billion dollars from the economy."

Dr. Singh says the money we are forking over at the pump is money that leaves the United States, "And since the end of 2001 the gas prices have gone up 77 cents so we have lost 77 billion dollars in consumer spending because of higher gasoline prices."

Losses that are likely cutting into Stephanie's sales, but she is trying to fight back, "We are having a 25 percent off sale for the rest of the month to try and pick business back up."

Tactics like that are what will keep Paw Prints and Pineapples in business while gas prices continue to drain our wallets.

Dr. Singh does not think a recession is going to happen as a result of high gas prices. The economist says there are many good things, like new jobs and tax cuts, that are protecting the economy.

Posted at 4:12 p.m. by melissa.kill@walb.com