Seeking Alpha

James Bianco is taken aback that two measures of broad-based economic activity - gasoline...

James Bianco is taken aback that two measures of broad-based economic activity - gasoline consumed and miles driven - are "falling hard" at a time when it's assumed the economy is getting better. Throughout history, the U.S. economy has never improved while its citizens drive less and use less gasoline. Perhaps these are false signals, he says, but they could be pointing to a faltering economy.
Comments (15)
  • Archman Investor
    , contributor
    Comments (3031) | Send Message
    I am not sure what the worrying is all about.


    As long as you do not look at:
    45 million Americans on food stamps
    50% of the population receiving some kind of government assistance
    % of Mortgage payments going late again
    Unemployment improving but at the expense of real wealth creating jobs that one can actually support a family on.
    Complete cultural decline in this country.


    As long as the stock market keeps going up, myself and the other 10% of this country (and most folks here on SA) that own and control 90% of the net worth, are happy as a pig in you know what.


    What's the problem James?
    15 Feb 2012, 06:28 PM Reply Like
  • Terry330
    , contributor
    Comments (870) | Send Message
    Many American families have bought new cars that get better gas mileage.
    15 Feb 2012, 06:35 PM Reply Like
  • cudashark
    , contributor
    Comments (45) | Send Message
    Baloney!!! most people I know are driving the same car longer...I'm sure there are statistics backing me up.
    15 Feb 2012, 06:53 PM Reply Like
  • Terry330
    , contributor
    Comments (870) | Send Message
    You must know /live in a town hit hard by Conservatives and lower work wages. With many GOP jobs now paying under $10 hour families will still hang on to the 1995 Grand Am.
    15 Feb 2012, 07:20 PM Reply Like
  • OptionManiac
    , contributor
    Comments (3487) | Send Message
    Terry - people are holding onto their cars longer - they are made so much better these days - thanks to the American worker. My parents bought a new car every 3 years because they just fell apart. Unfortunately, they still have a fear that a car with 30K mikes on it will strand them on the interstate. Funny how these later generations aspire to see 200K roll its way on the speedometer.
    15 Feb 2012, 09:00 PM Reply Like
  • SA reader
    , contributor
    Comments (176) | Send Message
    Dude, there is no such thing as a "GOP job". There is no "B.O. job" or "Dem job". Politicians think they can create permanent jobs, but all they do is create temporary ones before massive US austerity is forced upon us by bond buyers (or lack thereof) and send unemployment to 15-20%.


    The economy is falling and with Europe in a recession, the US will get drug back down into one. Obama giving money to lazy who won't go back to work isn't going to save us.


    Go to Williston or Dickinson, ND and I dare you to find me ONE job that pays under $10.00/hr. Oil industry has created so many jobs that Walmart even pays over $15/hr. Yea, stupid "GOP Jobs" paying $80k a year!
    15 Feb 2012, 09:51 PM Reply Like
  • cudashark
    , contributor
    Comments (45) | Send Message
    Terry get you head out or your tail pipe. This is no a POLITICAL fourm
    the economy stinks on ice! It's not getting better at a pace that will make much of a difference to many people already retired living on interest on CD's. They are screwed. The only money in the market is the bubble the fed is creating. The money is not making it into the economy.


    When the CEO of HP stank they replaced him. I recommend we do the same with the USA Inc.


    16 Feb 2012, 07:05 AM Reply Like
  • jeff lauder
    , contributor
    Comments (180) | Send Message
    Increased alcohol blending skews the gasoline consumption numbers. Roads are crowded. Gas going higher until we embrace Natgas.
    15 Feb 2012, 06:40 PM Reply Like
  • SanDiegoNonSurfer
    , contributor
    Comments (4602) | Send Message
    "Throughout history, the U.S. economy has never improved while its citizens drive less and use less gasoline"


    Throughout history? Really? And all this time I thought gasoline powered automobiles didn't even start appearing until end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries.
    15 Feb 2012, 06:50 PM Reply Like
  • OptionManiac
    , contributor
    Comments (3487) | Send Message
    Come on, luxury cars get over 30 miles to the gallon - youngsters aren't leaving the city to commute from the suburbs.
    15 Feb 2012, 06:54 PM Reply Like
  • megaballs
    , contributor
    Comments (45) | Send Message
    Bianco knows his stuff and this is good info. The US economy has been start and stop for the past two years. The hotter fourth quarter is behind us and it's tough to say how Q1 and Q2 go. The jobs and economic stats have people hoping for a sustainable improvement, but these stats with a 20 year horizon throw cold water at least on any significant pick up in the economy. There has been no radical change in population centers, car efficiency, and the like that can explain the radical reduction in miles, for instance. Seen the transports lately?
    Maybe we have become a handout nation on the margin with folks Facebooking and day trading AAPL?
    15 Feb 2012, 09:13 PM Reply Like
  • Poor Texan
    , contributor
    Comments (3532) | Send Message
    Obama will just have to nationalize the oil industry like his buddy Hugo did. This way we can all have subsidized lower gas prices at the expense of those evil oil companies. Yeah right.
    15 Feb 2012, 11:11 PM Reply Like
  • nightfly
    , contributor
    Comments (1017) | Send Message
    yeah, not the only indicator. look at basic materials, even copper with a large speculative component has rolled over.


    Companies and individuals don't buy what they don't need.
    16 Feb 2012, 01:55 AM Reply Like
  • Conventional Wisdumb
    , contributor
    Comments (1802) | Send Message
    Apparently high gas prices and high food prices are a sign of the progress we are making in this economy - at least according to Terry and her boss the President - to everyone else they are a sign of how rotten this Admin's economic policies really are.


    The average American doesn't put the DOW in their gas tank or the S&P500 on their table.


    Obviously Terry is worried for good reason.
    21 Feb 2012, 03:38 PM Reply Like
  • OptionManiac
    , contributor
    Comments (3487) | Send Message
    The better the economy the higher the demand for fuel, the higher the price. Basic economics. And watch out, there are billions more who want to tool around in a hot auto.
    21 Feb 2012, 08:39 PM Reply Like
DJIA (DIA) S&P 500 (SPY)
ETF Screener: Search and filter by asset class, strategy, theme, performance, yield, and much more
ETF Performance: View ETF performance across key asset classes and investing themes
ETF Investing Guide: Learn how to build and manage a well-diversified, low cost ETF portfolio
ETF Selector: An explanation of how to select and use ETFs