PADUCAH, Ky. -
If you've filled up your tank in the past 30 days, you know gas prices are lower than they've been in about ten years. The driver behind the drop is the price of oil, which is less than $60 a barrel. The last time prices hit that level was in 2009.
Right now, the average price for a gallon of regular gas is$2.37. This time last year, it was $.86 higher. Gasbuddy.com estimates the difference is saving Americans about $250 million at the pump every day. Drivers in the area said their wallets already feel a little fatter as the savings pile up.
The price for a gallon of unleaded gas in Paducah is $2.17 and falling. "It's at least a dollar cheaper this year than it was last year per gallon, so It's quite an affect on a long trip," said Rob Lipke. He's traveling from Wisconsin to Florida for the holidays and said this year, he's got some extra cash. "Well, we should be able to do a few extra things. Yes, that would be nice."
If gas prices stay this low, the U.S. government predicts the average American will save $550 in 2015. "Come on with the savings! I love saving," said Steven Pitts. He lives in the area and said his budget hasn't felt as tight lately, because he isn't spending as much at the pump. "I bought more Christmas presents, and I bought my momma a car."
Pitts is one of millions of Americans finding more freedom in their finances to shop, take trips, or pay off debt with money they aren't funneling into their tanks. He said, "I save like a good $50 now." It's money he wants to keep saving in 2015 to purchase a piece the American dream. "I want to buy me a house right now. I'm trying to save up for that. If it stays like this, I'll have my house in like the next two years," he said.
The savings are creating opportunities to make a life and to make memories for people who live here and those who are just stopping through for a fill-up.
The government also predicts it will cost you less to heat your home this winter. Combine that with the falling prices at the pump, and most families should save an average of about $600 in 2015 on gas and energy. There's no guarantee that the savings are here to stay, but most of the long-term trends are positive for consumers.
The labor department said consumers are also paying less for clothes, cars, recreation, household furnishings, and personal care.