Elaine Thompson, AP
There's some speculation as to whether the recent increase in gas prices will harm the economy or not.

Even though the prices of oil and gasoline have gone up sharply since October, they're still lower than they were last spring or in the summer of 2008, according to Econbrowser.

There's a fair amount of evidence suggesting that a rise in oil prices that simply reverses a previous price drop has a significantly smaller effect on the economy than if the price were to jump to a new all-time high, according to the article.

One reason for this is that a lot of the impact on the economy of a rise in oil prices is the result of sudden changes in the patterns of spending by consumers, according to Econbrowser. For example, when oil prices suddenly rise, consumers typically stop purchasing less fuel-efficient vehicles that are generally manufactured in North America. The drop in earnings for the domestic auto sector is a variable that frustrates the overall economy. But if consumers have recently dealt with prices higher than they're currently paying, their plans for spending will most likely have already adapted to that reality.

Click to read the entire article at Econbrowser.

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