There may be a silver lining to the cloud of rising gas prices. Less travel could mean more money for local governments.
In the wake of high fuel prices, many shoppers are staying close to home. Instead of pumping money into their cars, they’re pumping it into the local economy.
With the average gas price hovering near $4 dollars per gallon, people say they just can't afford to travel far for items they can buy closer to home.
Houston Co. Resident Rick Suggs said, “Gas prices have gotten so high we have to stay here and shop locally, don't know any other way to do it right now and it's going to get worse. We’re looking at $4 dollars a gallon now and by the end of the year, we're probably going to be at $5; don't know what folks are going to do.”
In fact, so many people shopped in Houston County, the sales tax revenue for the month of May increased more than nine percent compared to the same time last year.
Houston County Commission Chairman Mark Culver said, “We're up over two percent for the year. It says a lot about our economy. Our local economy is very resilient, primarily because of our retail and our medical community.”
Consumers spending their money locally are reinvesting in their communities. The additional tax revenue goes to support many projects such as road and bridge improvements, the school system and other projects funded by the county. It just might be the bright side to an otherwise murky economic future.
Saudi Arabia announced plans to increase its oil production next month by $200,000 barrels a day in response to soaring energy prices.