Falling gas prices good for consumers

Published 12:26 am Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Alabamians are among the Americans in nine states enjoying gas prices of less than $2 per gallon this week.

But the lower gas taxes might not last, economist and Troy University professor Dr. Daniel Sutter said.

The current national average is $2.24 per gallon, down seven cents in a week. The current Alabama average is $1.93 a gallon, down four cents in a week. Both of those averages are down a penny since Wednesday. Alabama drivers are now paying, on average, 22 cents less per gallon than we were a month ago.

“Nobody really knows how long this will last exactly,” Sutter said. “People spend their whole lives trying to predict the oil prices and they aren’t always very accurate. According to a recent prediction by Goldman Sachs, they actually lowered what they thought the initial world oil price would be at.”

Sutter said one of the main reasons for the price dip is because of an increase in oil production in the U.S.

“We are seeing a high production of oil, especially in the U.S.,” Sutter said. “Globally we are seeing there is a weak demand because a lot of countries are perhaps going into a weak recession where the economy is slowing down.”

He said for consumers, the price going down is a good thing.

“People spend on average about three to four percent of their expenditures on gasoline,” Sutter said. “So when the price of gasoline goes down they get to have a little more money to spend on other things.”

It is still uncertain when or if the gas prices will go up, but according to Sutter, there are several things that go into it.

“There are a couple of different factors,” Sutter said. “One of them being the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)cut back their production of oil in their most recent meeting to try and drive up the price, but that seems unsuccessful because it is being counterbalanced by the increase of production here in the United States.” 

President Donald Trump took credit for the price drops last week.

“If you look back a few months, gasoline was at eighty three dollars a barrel. That was going to be bad and it was going to one hundred and some people were saying one hundred and twenty five,” Trump said. “Rick. And I made calls. I say you better let that oil, that gasoline flow. And they did. And now it’s down to 44. And I put out a social media statement yesterday. I said do you think it’s luck that that happened? It’s not luck.”

I called up certain people and I said let that damn oil and gasoline … you let it flow. The oil. It was gone up to one hundred and twenty five dollars. If that would have happened then you would have had a recession, depression like we’ve had in the past.”