Several candidates come to mind, but my favorite is how the runup in gas prices would severely impact the economy - perhaps leading the nation to recession. Well, it didn't turn out that way, despite the average per-gallon price in L.A. being 41 cents higher than at this time a year ago (and that's down from earlier in the year). Some economists were bracing for the worst because the economy has a history of falling into recession when energy prices jump. Thing is, the world is a lot less dependent on oil than it was in the 1970s or even early 1990s. And let's face it, spending another few bucks to fill a gas tank won't prevent anyone from paying the mortgage. That's not to say $90- or $100-a-barrel oil wouldn't create big trouble - it's just to suggest that the economic Cassandras were premature in assuming that when oil hit $70 all hell would break loose. It didn't. So what about 2007? Forget about the projections you've been reading about. Forecasts on what's in store for the new year are next to worthless because there are just too many imponderables. But prices - whatever they are - will almost always comes down to two factors: the price of oil (practically impossible to predict) and the output (and condition) of California's aging refineries.
Headline watch: Here are two worth saving for the new year:
"The Worst Could be Over for High Oil Prices" - NY Post
"Gasoline Price Climb May Begin in mid-February, Analysts Predict" - Daily News