• 4 minutes Mueller Report Brings Into Focus Obama's Attempted Coup Against Trump
  • 7 minutes Countries with the most oil and where they're selling it
  • 10 minutes Stack gas analyzers
  • 13 minutes What Would Happen If the World Ran Out of Crude Oil?
  • 1 day US Military Spends at least $81 Billion Protecting OPEC Persian Gulf Oil Shipping Lanes (16% DoD Budget)
  • 19 mins How many drilling sites are left in the Permian?
  • 1 hour "Undeniable" Shale Slowdown?
  • 7 hours Mueller Report Brings Into Focus Trump's Attempts to Interfere in the Special Counsel Investigation
  • 1 day Overheating the Earth: High Temperatures Shortened Alaska’s Winter Weather
  • 2 days China To Promote Using Wind Energy To Power Heating
  • 1 day Gas Flaring
  • 1 day Climate Change Protests
  • 9 hours Case against Trans Mountain Begins
  • 7 hours Trudeau Faces a New Foe as Conservatives Retake Power in Alberta
  • 1 day Everything Is Possible: Germany’s Coal Plants May Be Converted to Giant Batteries
  • 16 hours U.S. Refiners Planning Major Plant Overhauls In Second Quarter
  • 2 days Japan’s Deflation Mindset Could Be Contagious
  • 1 day Tax Credits for Energy Storage

Breaking News:

Guaido Takes Strides To Topple Maduro

Alt Text

Oil Prices Snap Winning Streak

The oil price rally paused…

Alt Text

Bullish Hedge Funds Send Oil Soaring

Strong institutional interest in oil…

Alt Text

Oil Could Fall To $40 If OPEC Abandons Its Deal

Russia has announced that the…

James Hamilton

James Hamilton

James is the Editor of Econbrowser – a popular economics blog that Analyses current economic conditions and policy.

More Info

Trending Discussions

What Low Oil Prices Mean For The U.S. Economy

For the last 4 years, the national average retail price of gasoline in the United States stayed within a range of $3.25-$4.00 a gallon. But that all changed this fall, with U.S. consumers now paying an average price of $2.82.

72 Month Average Retail Price Chart

This usually is the time of year when gasoline prices tend to be at their lowest. But the current U.S. price of gasoline is exactly what we’d predict given the long-run relation between the price of gasoline and crude oil. There’s essentially no seasonal component in the price of crude. In other words, if crude stays at its current value (namely, Brent at $80), the lower price of gasoline is here to stay.

The current price of gasoline is 80 cents/gallon below what it has averaged over the last 3 years. Last year Americans consumed 135 billion gallons of gasoline. That means that if prices stay where they are, consumers will have an extra $108 billion each year to spend on other things. And if the historical pattern holds, spend it they will.

Related: Showdown Between Republicans And Obama Over Emissions Likely

Lower gasoline prices likely also contributed to the recent rise in consumer sentiment. Historically a 20% drop in energy prices would predict a 15-point rise in consumer sentiment. That relation weakened considerably as consumers got accustomed to the up-and-down yo-yo of prices in recent years. Nonetheless, consumer sentiment is now at the highest level it’s been since the Great Recession.

University Of Michigan Consumer Sentiment
Source: Calculated Risk.

Related: The Grand Oil Party Takes Washington by Storm

But another thing that’s changed is that much more of the oil we consume is now being produced right here at home. While lower prices are a boon for consumers, they pose a potential threat to producers, especially the higher-cost operators. Jim Brown reports that “the most recent companies to announce capex cuts are Exxon, Shell, Conoco, Continental Resources, Apache, Energy XXI and Hess.”

If there are employment cuts in places like Texas, Louisiana, and North Dakota, that would obviously offset some of the gains to consumers noted above, and ultimately undercut the major force keeping the price of crude low for the time being, that being the success of small U.S. oil producers.

Nevertheless, there should be no question that at this point this is a favorable development on-balance for the U.S. economy. We’re still importing 5 million more barrels each day of petroleum and products than we are exporting. Importing fewer barrels, and paying less for the barrels we do import, is a good thing.

By James Hamilton

Source - http://econbrowser.com

More Top Reads From Oilprice.com:




Download The Free Oilprice App Today

Back to homepage

Trending Discussions


Leave a comment
  • Firv 2 on November 25 2014 said:
    oil price decides the US dollar up or down worldwide. The information we concern

Leave a comment




Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News