UF expert available to talk about declining gas prices
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A University of Florida economist expects U.S. gas prices to continue to drop this summer because demand is falling globally, particularly in debt-ridden Europe.
“This is the second year in a row where we have experienced an unusual pattern; rising prices through the spring with a drop during the summer,” said Chris McCarty, director of the University of Florida Survey Research Center and UF’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research. “Usually the reverse is true with gas prices peaking sometime in July.”
However, the drop is only short term, he said. Long-term gas prices will continue to be high.
Last summer gas prices fell in part because of a release of oil from U.S. reserves, resulting in an unexpected increase in supply, McCarty said.
The current national average of regular unleaded gasoline is $3.50, which is 16 cents cheaper than one year ago, and Florida’s average is lower at $3.32, according to the AAA weekly fuel report (http://www.fuelgaugereport.aaa.com/ ).
“The odd behavior of gas prices is further evidence about how unsettled the economy is both nationally and globally,” he said.
McCarty conducts a variety of studies concerning economic issues in Florida using data generated by BEBR’s (http://www.bebr.ufl.edu/) monthly survey. The Consumer Confidence Index, an indicator designed to measure consumers’ degree of optimism on the state of the economy, is produced from one of these surveys.
He also conducts research about personal networks. He has developed a program called EgoNet for the collection and analysis of personal network data. He has used this program for several projects.
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