Behold, the land of $US2 a gallon gas.
Gas hasn’t been this cheap since 2010 in the U.S.
And it was this OnCue Express station in Oklahoma City that led us pas that critical mark on Wednesday, according to GasBuddy.com, a site that tracks gas prices nationwide. Other stations in the region have now followed suit. One station, as of Thursday, is selling a gallon of regular unleaded for $US1.98.
(For the record, the Google Street view photo above was taken back when gas was around $US2.50 a gallon in Oklahoma City.)
As a kid growing in the post-1970s gas-crisis era of relatively inexpensive petrol, I can remember people saying that Americans would never — never — pay $US2 a gallon for gas.
Well, we zoomed past $US2 just about everywhere a long, long time ago. But the crashing price of oil globally is translating into major savings at the pump.
In the past decade, the lowest price I can remember paying for gas was about $US1.25 a gallon — and at the time, given that I was living in Los Angeles (gas is always more expensive in California, for tax and regulatory reasons), that wasn’t all that cheap compared to other places in the U.S.
Cheap gas is something that makes the average American feel rich in a hurry — even they aren’t rich. The savings at the pump are turned into spending on other stuff, which is good for the overall economy.
When I was gassing up a few years ago, it was costing me upwards of $US60 per tank to keep rolling (in my admittedly not-very-fuel efficient 1998 Saab 900S). The recent gas price drop wouldn’t have me shelling out $US2 per gallon versus $US3.50-4.00, but it would save me about $US25 every time I refueled.
$US100 a month, $US1,200 per year? That’s probably not money that I would save — it’s money that I would spend, at someplace other than the gas station.
It will be interesting to see how much stimulus to the rest of the economy cheaper gas will deliver. For some, it will mean more eating out. For others, a couple of flatscreen TVs. If you’re more forward-looking, you might grab some shares of Apple stock.
On thing is for sure: Carmakers are going to be able to sell a lot more big trucks and SUVs to people who, back when gas was pricier, wouldn’t have gone for such vehicles.
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