The Year In Business

2005 will likely be remembered by American consumers as the year of the three-dollar gallon of gas.

The huge spike in oil and gas prices after Hurricane Katrina was one of the biggest business stories of the year, according to Geoff Colvin, Senior Editor-At-Large at Fortune Magazine.

"It's a big problem for a lot of individuals, for a lot of consumers, just because refining capacity is not very plentiful in this country," Colvin told CBS News. "People don't think about it very much but an awful lot of our gasoline and other oil products are refined outside the United States. Well, total global demand really affects how much of that is available for us."

Another big story for 2005 was the skyrocketing home prices. That's a trend that – for many folks – will come to an end, Colvin says.

"My own view is this is clearly a bubble. It is indeed an unsubstantially high level of prices."

As for 2006, Colvin says to look forward to spending more on your credit card payments. Beginning in January, most major credit cards will require higher monthly payments, all because of new federal regulations.

"You have to understand, [banks are] doing this, not because they want to, but under pressure from regulators," Colvin says. "The regulators are doing this because they think they are helping consumers. They want to help consumers."

By Bob Bicknell and Jenn Eaker
  • Bob Bicknell

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