Hail Shale
American Drivers Will Enjoy Another Summer of Cheap Gas

The weather’s getting warmer, and many U.S. drivers are looking forward to another summer of road trips thanks to relatively cheap gasoline. Bloomberg reports:

The EIA in its Summer Fuels Outlook sees prices averaging 23 cents higher this summer than a year earlier, primarily because Brent crude oil is forecast to be $8 a barrel more than in the summer of 2016. […]

“Usually gas prices between mid-February and Memorial Day increase somewhere from 25 cents to 70 cents,” [Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy] said. “But this year we may not even see a point where gas prices get up to a 35-cent increase because utilization is already looking good and most refinery maintenance has peaked, so that is good news for motorists.”

Prices are slightly higher than they were at this time last year (and are, in fact, at nearly a two-year high), but they still remain far below what they were even three years ago, when a gallon of gas averaged well above $3.50. Today, that average is just $2.41, thanks to relatively low oil prices and an abundance of U.S. crude inventories.

It doesn’t take long to become accustomed to the status quo, but let’s remember that from 2011 to 2014, it was commonplace to be paying more than $4 per gallon at the gas station. Cheap gasoline isn’t just helpful for Americans planning their next vacation, it’s also helpful for any worker who relies on driving for his or her daily commute. The shale boom precipitated the global crude price collapse, and is therefore one of the main reasons why gas is so cheap today. Remember to thank fracking the next time you fill your tank up.

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