The Houston Chronicle says a combination of big oil supplies and drivers putting fewer miles on their cars will probably keep gasoline prices low through the summer. The story quotes one expert as saying gasoline prices could even drop to $1.75 a gallon by April:
With recession-minded Americans expected to scale back vacation plans and the nation oversupplied with gasoline, refiners are preparing for weaker business in the spring and summer months, dimming hopes of a seasonal boost.
The glum outlook comes as broader economic headwinds are forcing many oil and gas companies to cut spending and jobs, including many in Texas.
It may also reflect the impact of long-term, fuel-saving changes U.S. drivers have made in response to higher energy costs in recent years.
Consumers, however, could benefit in the short term. The poor business climate may keep gasoline prices from rising as much as they typically do heading into the spring and summer months.
Whether lower-than-normal prices will convince Americans to pump more gasoline is another matter.
A recent government report showed Americans drove 3.8 billion fewer vehicle miles in December, a decline of 1.6 percent from a year ago, extending a trend of declining driving into its second year.