Monday, December 11, 2017
Business

Are gas prices going to fall to $1 a gallon?

If the fast-falling stock market makes us queasy, declining gas prices — and the promise of even cheaper fillups to come in 2016 — should bring some solace to the stomach and wallet.

Gas prices in the Tampa Bay area are starting to dip below $1.70 a gallon at some of the more aggressively priced gas stations. In Pinellas County, a Sam's Club and Sunoco on Park Boulevard near Belcher charged $1.69 Monday, while a Mystik station on James L. Redman Parkway near Plant City hit $1.68 the same afternoon for a gallon of regular, according to GasBuddy.com.

AAA's Fuel Gauge website puts the metrowide average for regular gas at $1.85, down from $1.90 last week and $2.01 a year ago.

What's now got everybody abuzz is that Iran, newly freed from heavy international sanctions, is taking the early steps required to get back into the oil-exporting business. The country can eventually deliver 500,000 barrels of new oil a day to the market, though it could take most of 2016 for Iran to get back into the game.

Whenever it comes, that additional supply is expected to drop crude oil prices that already have hit a recent 12-year low close to $25 a barrel, and further lower gas prices.

Could a gallon of gas get as low as $1? It's possible.

"There is no major reason to believe gas prices will not continue to press down, and in some cases to $1 a gallon," says the 24/7 Wall Street website, at least in cheap gas states like Oklahoma.

"When oil prices slide, I'm happy filling my SUV," University of Central Florida economist Sean Snaith told a Pinellas audience this month.

He's not alone. GM reports such highly profitable (but gas-guzzling) models as Chevrolet Suburbans and Tahoes, Cadillac Escalades and GMC Yukons are rolling off its assembly line in Arlington, Texas. GM built 16.5 percent more of these models through the first 11 months in 2015 than in the same period a year earlier when gas was higher.

Snaith endorsed the economic impact of falling gas prices. But he did so cautiously, citing the sharp ups and downs at the pump.

"Yes, lower gas prices are helping," he said. "But we've been on this ride before."

GasBuddy's forecast says gas prices should rise as the summer driving season approaches, but will fall again by the end of 2016.

Let's enjoy the moment, especially if stock markets continue to swoon.

I pumped 16 gallons of regular into my gas tank on Sunday at a St. Petersburg Citgo station priced at $1.76. That's a $28.16 fill­up for the same vehicle that not so many years ago cost me over $60 for the same tankful. The savings amounts to more than $760 a year if I filled the tank twice a month.

That comes to an average of $14.61 more each week in my wallet.

What if Tampa Bay gas prices sink to, say, $1.25 a gallon? By the same comparison, that would save me close to $980 a year, or just under $19 a week.

In an era of meager wage increases and bearish sentiment on Wall Street, that newfound money is looking pretty good.

Contact Robert Trigaux at [email protected] Follow @venturetampabay.

DIRK SHADD | Times

A gallon of regular gas was down to $1.79 on Monday at this Rally station in St. Petersburg, and lower in some areas.

Comments
Outback Steakhouse co-founder Chris Sullivan steps off Bloomin’ Brands’ board

Outback Steakhouse co-founder Chris Sullivan steps off Bloomin’ Brands’ board

Chris Sullivan, co-founder of Outback Steakhouse, resigned from the board of the restaurant chain’s parent company last Wednesday, according to a Monday filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The document, filed by Tampa-based Bloomin’ B...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority plays beat the clock on GOP tax bill

Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority plays beat the clock on GOP tax bill

TAMPA — With the Republican tax bill poised to eliminate the opportunity, the Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority on Monday said it had refinanced a big chunk of its debt to save money in the future.The authority borrowed $152 million from the bo...
Updated: 3 hours ago
JW Marriott Clearwater Beach project still on target despite some bumps

JW Marriott Clearwater Beach project still on target despite some bumps

CLEARWATER BEACH — While Tampa is excited about its first JW Marriott hotel, plans are moving ahead for a $130 million JW Marriott property on Clearwater Beach, despite some hiccups. "We’ve done really well in our opinion," Uday Lele, developer of t...
Updated: 4 hours ago
HSBC says U.S. will dismiss criminal charges against it

HSBC says U.S. will dismiss criminal charges against it

HSBC said Monday that U.S. authorities were preparing to dismiss criminal charges against the bank, five years after it reached an agreement to avoid prosecution related to lapses in its money-laundering controls.In 2012, the bank, one of the world’s...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Major auto manufacturer offers longer hours, incentives to fix airbags

Major auto manufacturer offers longer hours, incentives to fix airbags

TAMPA — With nearly 200,000 people around Tampa Bay still driving around with defective airbags that could kill them, a major automaker is trying to dramatically cut that number down this week.Fiat Chrystler Automobiles U.S. has launched Airbag Recal...
Updated: 6 hours ago
This 6-year-old kid made $11 million in one year reviewing toys on You Tube

This 6-year-old kid made $11 million in one year reviewing toys on You Tube

When most people think back on the child celebrities of their time, they likely think of child movie actors, the well-trained stars of showbiz. For some, these were stars like Mary Kate and Ashley Olson, or Macaulay Carson Culkin from "Home Alone." F...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Ticket-fighting firm hires former Florida Bar president to sue the Bar

Ticket-fighting firm hires former Florida Bar president to sue the Bar

Times Staff WriterWell, this is awkward. A company that is suing the Florida Bar has hired a former Bar president to represent it. Ramon Abadin has joined the legal team of TIKD, a company that expedites the process of fighting traffic tickets in Pin...
Updated: 10 hours ago
A longer wait: Some now try nearly 3 years to get disability insurance

A longer wait: Some now try nearly 3 years to get disability insurance

By the time Teralyn Fleming could finally plead her case to get federal disability insurance, she had been waiting two years and three months. The wait was not a peaceful one — a blood clotting disorder pushed her out of the workforce in 2015 so she ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Tampa: Hundreds protest Trump’s decision on Jerusalem

Tampa: Hundreds protest Trump’s decision on Jerusalem

TAMPA — Hundreds rallied near the University of South Florida on Friday night to protest President Donald Trump’s recent declaration that the United States will recognize the divided city of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.The protest was organize...
Published: 12/08/17
Updated: 12/09/17

Duke outage leaves 7,700 without power near Pinellas Park

PINELLAS PARK — Up to 7,700 customers across Pinellas Park, Lealman and Kenneth City lost power in a Thursday night outage, according to Duke Energy.The outage impacted a cloverleaf-shaped area of customers, with pedals extending in the cardinal dire...
Published: 12/08/17