While driving around the Lone Star State, drivers have certainly noticed that gasoline prices have fallen around the area and that could mean that more money being spent on holiday items, economists say.
Nationwide, the oil dip had been very slow reaching the pumps with a national average of $2.67, down from $2.90 per gallon just a month ago.
In South Texas, gasoline prices have hovered around the $2.19-$2.30 mark, after a hard survey by Texas Take News. Prices elsewhere range from $2.30-$2.60, which compared to only a few months ago is still a bargain.
Some drivers are paying as much as $4 less per fill up and that means more money in their pockets.
Gina Rodriguez, of San Antonio told Texas Take News Monday morning that seeing the lower prices at the pump helped her reach the conclusion to spend the Holiday with her family in Corpus Christi.
“Ok, really it isn’t that much of a savings but it’s enough to be noticeable,” says Rodriguez. “I mean that’s more snacks for the kids and that keeps them quiet,” she says laughingly.
But economists say that this is exactly what happens. Brent Lyndon with Eastern Capital says that the savings do actually end up in the pockets of consumers that translates to the money being spent elsewhere.
Lyndon says that though the savings may seem nominal, they are enough to motivate spending.
“Your not going to let $4 dollars determine your holiday shopping list, but for businesses and the economy, it does certainly mean motivate consumers,” Lyndon says.
Oil prices right now are right around $55 dollars a barrel and for the larger economy, that could be an entirely different song.
America produces over 11 million l barrels of oil each day, that’s up nearly 5 million barrels from only ten years ago. Traditional thinking is that of oil stays around $55 dollars per barrel, then the output could largely decrease and the U.S. rig count could drop by 100 rigs or more, but $55 dollar per barrel oil is not likely to hang around.
Experts that we spoke with, say that $70-90 dollar per barrel oil could be just ahead on the horizon as OPEC cuts production in the coming months, which by Spring would breed $2.90 per gallon gas again.
But for now, oil and gas prices are giving consumers a stocking stuffer as opposed to a shaft, at least for now.