Worldwide oil inventories have shrunk to their lowest level since 1999, creating the possibility of a sharp rise in fuel prices, as happened early in 2000, according to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), which cited the International Energy Agency (IEA) as its source.
Oil prices in the U.S. already are nudging $30 a barrel because the threat of the U.S. going to war against Iraq has spooked the market, the WSJ reported Thursday (Sept. 12).
Meanwhile, the IEA says there isn’t an adequate supply of oil at prices the refiners want, so they are drawing down their inventories in the hope that prices will fall in the future.
The Organization of Oil Exporting Countries (OPEC) could increase output, because it has unused capacity, and it could decide to do so next week when it meets in Japan.
An increase in output from OPEC should lower oil prices.
But there are OPEC members who oppose such a move because they believe war concerns rather than tight supplies pushed up prices.
Even though higher fuel prices should not, by themselves, hurt RV sales, the damage to consumer confidence that occurred when gas prices soared early in 2000 drove down RV sales. The RV industry remained in recession until late last year.
But the stability of gas prices following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks eventually encouraged more Americans to buy RVs, particularly those who decided they prefer domestic travel over trips abroad.
From a purely operating cost standpoint, higher gas prices should not hurt RV sales, because RVs are not driven or towed for long distances after they are set-up at their campground destination.