Drivers in the U.S. may save as much as $75 billion at gasoline pumps in 2015 after a yearlong rout in crude oil sent prices tumbling, AAA said today.
Americans already saved $14 billion on the motor fuel this year, according to Heathrow, Florida-based AAA, the country’s largest motoring group. Pump prices have dropped a record 97 consecutive days to a national average $2.26 a gallon today, the lowest since May 12, 2009, AAA said by e-mail.
A global glut of crude oil and a standoff between U.S. producers and the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries over market share has been a boon for consumers. U.S. production climbed this year to the highest in three decades amid a surge in output from shale deposits. Oil is heading for its biggest annual decline since the 2008 financial crisis.
“Next year promises to provide much bigger savings to consumers as long as crude oil remains relatively cheap,” Avery Ash, an AAA spokesman, said by e-mail today. “It would not be surprising for U.S. consumers to save $50-$75 billion on gasoline in 2015 if prices remain low.”
U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude touched $52.51 a barrel today, the lowest since May 2009. Brent oil, the international benchmark that contributes to the price of gasoline imports, fell to $55.81, also the cheapest since 2009.
“It’s getting lower because what happened? We drilled in the United States,” Peyton Feltus, president of Randolph Risk Management in Dallas, said today in a telephone interview. “We’re buying more of it from ourselves, which is a great economic multiplier.”
There is “significant uncertainty” over the cost of crude next year as lower prices may force companies to curb production and may also lead to instability in other oil-producing countries, the motoring group said.
The average U.S. household will save about $550 on gasoline costs next year, with spending on track to reach the lowest in 11 years, the Energy Information Administration said Dec. 16.
“They’ve got more disposable income and they’re going to have even more in the coming months,” Feltus said. “Gasoline prices are going to go lower than anybody thought they could.”
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