Drive past just about any gas station these days, and you’ll likely do a double-take at how low the prices have fallen.
So long, $3.50 a gallon.
The average price per gallon in Dallas-Fort Worth was $2.80 late last week, according to AAA Texas, and many drivers are filling up for as low as $2.65 a gallon for unleaded.
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Nationally, the average price is $3.08 and is expected to dip below $3 soon, which would be the first time since 2010.
So why the sudden and steady drop after years of increases?
As your economics teacher might say: It’s a simple case of supply and demand.
• Crude oil production is up — and not just overseas. The U.S. has increased domestic supply by 50 percent, with much of that coming from shale oil and gas in Texas and Oklahoma. Saudi Arabia is also reportedly upping its production to combat global competition.
• Prices are down because we’re driving less and driving more fuel efficient cars. The price of oil fell below $80 a barrel Monday morning to $79.92.
The overall effect of lower gas prices depends on whom you ask.
Many Americans are driving less — we’re expected to drive 2.98 million vehicles miles this year, down 1.7 percent from 2007 — so the savings won’t be as much as it would have been a few years ago. Less driving also means a falloff in revenue from gas taxes, which helps pay for roads.
But for the individual, lower gas prices will save them about $300 a year. And, according to Bankrate.com, Americans could save $13.1 billion just in the fourth quarter. That could come in handy during the holidays.