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Lower prices at the pump lead to a giddy glow

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Column by Ben Sheroan

By Ben Sheroan

Something extraordinary happened Monday that gave me a warm feeling all over.

Despite the fact it was a cold December morning and I experienced a delightfully giddy glow, it has nothing to do with the Christmas season.

Although, giving it a second thought, it will help make the season merry and bright.

It was a common event which took place in an ordinary way but had a very happy ending.

I was using a self-service pump to put gas into the almost empty tank of my 10-year-old Buick. I decided to limit myself to $25. And here’s the amazing part, the tank only would hold $24 worth of fuel.

Glory to God in the highest.

Sixteen gallons for $24: It seems like a miracle, doesn’t it.

Just a few weeks ago, I was thrilled to find gasoline at less than $3 a gallon. Now it’s half that price.

There are some market speculators saying $1 a gallon could happen again. Of course back in the summer, those same speculators were predicting gasoline on an irreversible march to $5 or more.

The economy has done some fancy reversals. While people are crying over the mortgage madness, stock market dive and government bailouts, we have spent little time rejoicing over one commodity that drives all our lives.

The price of gas influences the limits on our lives. Where did I go for the weekend? What can I afford to buy for Christmas?

With a few extra dollars in my pocket, I can visit a local restaurant at lunch rather than make a turkey sandwich at home.

Maybe I can opt for a nice sit-down place rather than chain fast food. How about ribeye instead of hamburger, fresh seafood instead of pressed fish sticks, real mozzarella  instead of processed cheese.

We all know that fuel prices drive the cost of everything we buy. When gas prices leaped about $4 per gallon back in the summer, every story about the rising cost of products mentioned the impact of fuel on trucking.

At this time of year when shopping is at its height, every local retailer stands to benefit from this decline in gas prices. I can limit my fuel usage but I cannot eliminate it. Some of the money not spent at the pump is bound to end up being spent on gifts for the Christmas stockings.

I don’t know what the next president or the next Congress will do to fix the economy. I hope whatever it is, they find a way to keep gasoline on the present trend.

Just think, the same 16 gallons of gas that cost $24 on Monday would have cost $64 just a few weeks ago. I have a lot of ways that I can stimulate the local economy with that $40 savings.

Standing outside by the pump, my fuel tank was full and my wallet was not empty. That’s enough to make any Grinch’s heart grow.

Ben Sheroan is general manager of The LaRue County Herald News.