Oil prices have jumped 16% in two weeks, and analysts tell the Christian Science Monitor the run-up couldn't come at a worse time. As the US economy flirts with recession, beleaguered consumers could end up spending their economic stimulus checks to cover even higher gas prices. The $101.32 per barrel oil gushed to yesterday is attributed to cuts in production and fears that OPEC may trim output further at its meeting next month
Gas prices are up more than 50 cents since last year and some analysts say regular could average $3.75 by April, the Dallas Morning News reports. “This is bad for the consumer and the economy,” one economist tells the Monitor. "It will be an offset to the fiscal stimulus everyone is talking about." US demand for oil has dropped, because of the economic slowdown, but surging use elsewhere, especially in China, is expected to keep demand up.