Interest, the Fed and Gas Prices

Well, after threatening us with it repeatedly, it seems the Fed is going to hit us with another interest rate hike. It also looks like there are more to come. The demon of "inflation" is apparently hounding the American economy's heels. Just look at the pressure on prices! Just look at the recent increase in wages!

Then, there's the price of gas...

I don't know about you but I never seem to be the one who is benefitting from the big wage increase. However, whenever "they" are screaming about the rising costs of consumer goods, I'm always ahead of that curve. I mean -- what's the cost of gas in your part of the world?

I suspect I'm going to have to downsize my car in order to afford the mortgage on my house at some point. It's over 2 bucks a gallon in most places -- and some places are getting close to 3 dollars. Don't know about you but we are definitely thinking about the cost of the drive when we decide where and how to get our groceries. It adds up quick if you are driving enough miles to a big box store, just to save a few dollars on something. Your gas could have cost you enough to equal your savings. In which case, why bother?

We seem to be a nation who loves our big, gas-guzzling beasts. I must be the only person on my block who doesn't own either a van or an SUV. I'm telling you, after working out how much it cost me to keep my car on the road last month, I'm sure glad I don't have one of those monster vehicles. With this sudden surge in the cost of gas, I would have a serious crimp in my budget.

Which brings me to another thought: You know, there are those who say that if we invest in a little energy smart equipment at home -- solar panels or other energy saving / generating devices -- we might just have money in pocket later. Have you heard about living "off the grid"? It's a euphemism for being able to meet your own energy needs, without the electric company. As the cost of energy in general (and not just gas) gets higher, I'm thinking very hard about this.

Does that mean I'll have to live in a "lean to" in the middle of a forest? No sirree. I've seen some energy efficient / energy saving housing designs lately that would never make you think "crazy greeny". These designs completely belie the notion of having to "give up" something in order to be nice to the earth and leave a small "footprint". The designs were nothing short of opulent, and the tricks used to either save energy or create your own were really impressive. It's not just solar panels anymore -- it's smart design.

Which brings me back to my "old world" car and my suburban home. I may be stuck here for awhile while my better half gestates, but I'm starting to think a bit differently about the next house. I suspect it's partially the shock of the cost of filling up; even more, it's the accumated cost of gas that showed up this week on our credit card bill. I'm thinking hybrid for the next car. I'm thinking about a cool house without a huge electric bill. The whole business of thinking green might be more than a nice slogan for environmentalists; it could be the mantra of a new way of living which could put green in my pocket as well as keep the earth green.

Something to think about.

Michael

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