Putting a Tiger in the Tank

Cheap oil and low interest rates should accelerate U.S. growth

During 1985 the U.S. economy performed below its potential, sputtering along like a Corvette with a clogged carburetor. America's output grew only 2.3%, compared with a full-throttle 6.6% in 1984. But TIME's Board of Economists, * which met last week in Manhattan, predicts that the country will rev its engine again this year. The group believes that the gross national product will expand by about 3.3% during 1986, a brisk if not blistering pace.

The economy's high-octane fuel has been low interest rates. The benchmark prime rate that banks charge for commercial loans has remained steady at 9.5% since it plunged...