Gasoline at 58-month low
Retail gasoline prices tumbled yesterday to the lowest level in nearly five years. And while crude futures rose, analysts believed it was a temporary pause in an extended, downward arc as the recession spreads.
"We're paying about a billion dollars per day less than we were in July" for gasoline, said Tom Kloza, publisher and chief oil analyst at Oil Price Information Service.
"We could probably bail out some banks and maybe even some of the auto companies with the savings."
But cheap gas is bittersweet news for an economy that shed millions of jobs this year. Pump prices were driven down mostly because Americans are staying home more.
Transportation Secretary Mary Peters said the travel habits of Americans are "fundamentally changing" as drivers clocked 9 billion fewer miles in October, even as gas prices plunged.
At the pump, retail gas prices fell six-tenths of a penny overnight to a national average of $1.64 a gallon yesterday, nearly halved from the year-ago average of $2.98 a gallon, according to AAA and the Oil Price Information Service. The last time retail prices dipped this low was in February 2004, Kloza said.