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The upside of economic worries: Lower gas prices

Sep 25, 2011 10:29:00 PM - thestate.com
Soaring gasoline prices are in the rearview mirror.

For the first time in months, retail gasoline prices have fallen below $3 a gallon in places, including parts of Michigan, Missouri and Texas. And the relief is likely to spread thanks to a sharp decline in crude-oil prices.

The national average for regular unleaded gasoline is $3.51 per gallon, down from a high of $3.98 in early May. Last week's plunge in oil prices could push the average to $3.25 per gallon by November, analysts say.

Economist Philip Verleger equates it to "a stimulus program for consumers," leaving them more money for clothes, dinners out and movies. Over a year, a 50 cents-per-gallon drop in gasoline prices would add roughly $70 billion to the U.S. economy.

Arthur De Villar, a 48-year-old safety inspector for the Federal Aviation Administration, paid $2.96 for gasoline near his home in Manchester, Mo., a suburb of St. Louis - and he recently replaced his SUV with a four-door sedan.

USA, South Carolina: (Latest Stories)