Gas prices are at their lowest level in almost three years due to an increase in domestic drilling, which could give holiday shoppers some extra cash this year.
The average price as of Tuesday was $3.18 a gallon, which is the lowest it's been since Feb. 22, 2011 when it was $3.17, according to data reported daily by AAA
According to The Wall Street Journal
, the automobile club expects prices to continue to fall through the end of the year, and while prices in many states will and have fallen below $3.00, it is unlikely the national average will break that mark. The last time pump prices fell below $3.00 nationally was in December 2010.
AAA predicted in late September that gas prices were likely to continue to fall after the country had seen the sharpest drop in the average price
since last October.
At present, refiners are making more gasoline than the country needs, particularly in the Midwest, which is helping to drive prices down. The Midwest is also seeing the sharpest drop in prices due to the increase primarily in shale-oil production.
Refiners typically cut back on production when inventory increases. But for now, they are converting more petroleum into diesel fuel and exporting it to Europe and Latin America
, where the demand for the product is stronger. The move means higher profits for the oil companies and a surplus of gas and savings for U.S. consumers.
With the holidays approaching, the Journal noted, that's good news for shoppers, who tend to spend more money when they actually save money at the pump, according to economists.
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