RENEE MONTAGNE, Host:
From Denver, Colorado, NPR's Jeff Brady has more.
JEFF BRADY: At the Magic Rabbit Car Wash, there's also a convenience store, one of those quick oil-change shops and gas pumps out front. Normally, this is a good time of year for owner Kevin Leung, because gas prices usually go down after the summer driving season.
MONTAGNE: A lot of gas stations, they do not change the price down that quickly, and that's how we can pocket the difference.
BRADY: Gary Taylor is a principal with the Brattle Group, and he says oil futures appear to be settling in around $85 to $90 a barrel. But that's not because traders know that's where it'll end up.
MONTAGNE: When they don't know, they kind of expect more of the same. So the fact that the markets right now are kind of seeing $90 oil out there for the foreseeable future, that's just because they don't know where things are going to go.
(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)
BRADY: Taylor says if the higher prices do stick around, that could hinder a fragile economic recovery.
MONTAGNE: You know, a $10 increase in the price of oil is like a $200 million tax on the economy a day.
BRADY: That's $80 billion a year.
(SOUNDBITE OF VACUUM)
BRADY: Back at the Magic Rabbit Car Wash, Kevin Leung worries if customers spend more money on gas, they'll have less to spend on luxuries like a $10 car wash.
MONTAGNE: They don't have that money anymore, because all their money is going in to fill up the tank. Unfortunately, I don't make that $10.
BRADY: Jeff Brady, NPR News, Denver.
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