Consumers’ pockets have already felt the effects of higher oil prices. According to AAA, the national average for a gallon of gasoline increased by nearly 5 cents overnight to $4.065, an amazing 46 cents more than only a week ago and only a nickel lower than the 2008 record.
With the Ukraine conflict growing and rumors of sanctions against Russian oil, the price of West Texas Intermediate crude — the US benchmark — surpassed $120 per barrel Monday afternoon. According to Andrew Lipow, owner of Lipow Oil Associates, traders are avoiding Russian oil in anticipation of a prospective ban.
Rising gas prices are the most visible manifestation of the rising cost of oil. What people can’t see, though, is hurting them. Petroleum derivatives can be found in a wide range of consumer goods and household products, from microfiber to moisturizer to pharmaceuticals. Their prices are also growing.
Approximately 60% of worldwide oil usage is really in the form of fuel. Much of what remains is useful to reach a dizzying diversity of products and home goods, many of which have no evident ties to oil.
The oil prices affects practically everything
Vegan leather shoes and handbags, for example, uses petroleum as a raw material. Nylon stockings, microfiber fleece, and other synthetic garments are other examples. “If you wear glasses, the cost of polycarbonate lenses suddenly went up,” Lipow said, adding that he expects prices to rise on nearly all things with oil ties.
Everything made with — or packaged in — plastic will cost extra. “A lot of plastics are created with polypropylene or polyethylene, and the basic building blocks of those are propane and ethane”. Stewart Glickman, an energy equity analyst at CFRA Research, explained. “They are usually a proportion of the price of a barrel of oil.”
Consumers can expect to spend more on cellphones, computers, and televisions, all of which contain plastic elements, according to Glickman. And car costs will remain in the stratosphere for a longer period. They don’t simply operate on gas; petroleum is a component in everything from tires to plastic body panels to foam seat cushions.
Rising oil costs will reflect at the grocery shop. “The agriculture business is in the higher-impact group,” said Edward Jones energy analyst Faisal Hersi. Because industrial fertilizer uses fossil fuels, costlier fertilizer equals higher grain prices. That has its own impact, and also affects the customers when they purchase meat, eggs, or dairy goods.”
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