Consumers can enjoy gas prices below $3 a gallon for several months to come, with U.S. officials forecasting a national average of $2.94 per gallon for 2015.
Driven largely by falling crude oil prices, U.S. gasoline retail prices nationally already average just under $3 a gallon, and much less in some states.
The U.S. Energy Department’s Energy Information Administration also predicts that U.S. total crude oil production will average 9.4 million barrels per day in 2015. “If realized, the 2015 forecast would be the highest annual average crude oil production since 1972,” the EIA states.
Last week, RBC Capital Markets estimated that the average American household will save around $42 per month on gas over the next year if prices stay as low as they are now.
RBC arrived at this estimate by calculating the average miles driven per vehicle in the U.S., and how much gasoline all passenger cars (excluding larger trucks) use every year.
Auto retailers are expected to benefit as car owners will have more spare income to spend on delayed car maintenance, RBC said.
The drop in gas prices “should have a relatively similar dollar impact on most consumers, but the incremental impact should be much greater on lower income consumers ($40/month means more to someone that is making $40,000/year than someone making $200,000/year),” states RBC Capital Markets.