Car loans in the U.S., which were once a measure of the financial health of the middle class, are getting bigger and taking longer to pay off.
Roughly 33 percent of auto loans take at least six years to pay off, up from 10 percent a decade ago. With the average cost of a new car being $34,000, in part due to safety features and computerization of the dashboard, more people will choose buying a new car over buying a house.
Not only will debt burdens escalate as wages decline, defaults will skyrocket when the “Greatest Depression” hits.
As for filling the gas tank, the U.S. shale boom is finally slowing, although production is still significant and reaching its peak. The decline is the result of operational mishaps, such as drilling too close to other wells and overestimating the amounts in tapped locations. Despite less supply, there will also be less demand as the global economy continues to cool.
TREND FORECAST: As we go to press, oil prices continue to slump, with Brent Crude down to around $58 a barrel. As the headwinds of the “Greatest Depression” approach, we forecast that, absent major war in the Middle East, oil prices will fall into the $30-$40 range per barrel.