Good economic news for catalogers?

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While the US consumer watches gas prices rise, there may be a positive spin for the cataloger and other direct marketers who save consumers a shopping trip. Bloomberg reports that petroleum gasoline futures are at  $3.40 per gallon today and I've seen several reports that gas averages $4 a gallon at the pump.

Here's some math: The average American commuter driving a sedan at 20 miles per gallon would use 1.36 gallons per 1-hour round trip to the mall.  At $4.00 per gallon, that's a $5.44 savings. If you're company's shipping fees are lower than that, you've got some feel good savings to pass on to the customer.

But before you start rewriting all of your promotional copy, consider the true nature of costs and benefits. The carbon offsets and increased prices for delivery of products to individual homes will still have an environmental impact. In addition, according to a recent study by Connected Nation, it takes 50 orders that save the consumer an hour of driving, to make 1 cent of carbon offsets for each individual. Thanks to multiplication, this can eventually total to dollars of change.

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