The decline in gas prices has effectively served as a tax cut for American consumers.
But President Barack Obama is warning Americans that this won’t last forever.
In an interview with The Detroit News‘ David Shepardson, Obama said Americans should use the savings wisely.
“I would strongly advise American consumers to continue to think about how you save money at the pump because it is good for the environment, it’s good for family pocketbooks and if you go back to old habits and suddenly gas is back at $US3.50, you are going to not be real happy,” Obama told The Detroit News.
By Wells Fargo’s estimate, the bottom 20% of income earners could save nearly $US250 over a year with current prices. Those earning the most will have an extra $US814 on average.
Obama suggested Americans keep the money in savings or buy an appliance that will still be useful even after gas prices go up.
“Obama said ‘folks should enjoy’ low gas prices,” Shepardson reports, “but cautioned that they won’t be around forever. Americans could sock away some of the money, ‘or better yet’ buy a new car or new appliance, [Obama] said.”
The president also told The Detroit News that demand for oil from emerging markets like China and India would continue to grow “over the long term,” adding that the US needed to remain “smart” about its energy policy.
Gas prices plunged with oil in the second half of last year, as US shale production surged and the 12-member oil cartel OPEC maintained its output.
Brent crude on Wednesday fell below $US50 for the first time in six years, while West Texas Intermediate crude dipped below $US47 a barrel overnight.
The average price of gas in 2015 will be $US2.642 per gallon, according to GasBuddy, a website that tracks real-time national data. That would make gas the cheapest it has been since 2009, according to CNBC.
For a reminder, here is a five-year chart of gas prices that shows the breathtaking plunge of the past few months.
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