Business Review Board / June 7, 2016

Relief at the Pump

Some good news for summer travelers.

Got summer travel plans? Good news — summer gas prices are as low as they’ve been in a decade. The price per barrel of oil is up $20 since January, but it’s still down about $10 from this time last year. And heading into Memorial Day weekend, the average price per gallon of gas was $2.30, which was 47 cents lower than last year.

Supply problems in Canada (due to wild fires), Nigeria (due to terrorism) and Venezuela (due to socialism) have caused some of the recent price spike, and the oil market is always somewhat volatile. Another factor is that oil exploration and expansion in the U.S. has been quiet because low prices make that production not cost-effective. But as oil has settled around $50 a barrel, American production has picked up again. All factors considered, analysts expect oil to remain at or below $50 a barrel for the rest of 2016, which is welcome news in most sectors.

Consumers have it pretty good right now when it comes to oil and gas, as the cost of living is lower when energy prices are down. Congress even lifted the 40-year ban on U.S. oil exports in December, and exports are growing at a healthy clip. But the good news is certainly no thanks to Barack Obama’s energy policies. Nearly all of the additional exploration and drilling has occurred on private land as Obama has shut down access in federally controlled areas. Not that he hasn’t taken credit for low prices…

In any case, summer travelers can enjoy some relief at the pump that seems likely to continue throughout the season.

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