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The average price of gasoline will be below $3 a gallon in 2015, the government predicted Wednesday. If the sharply lower estimate holds true, U.S. consumers will save $61 billion on gas compared with this year. In a monthly report, the Energy Department reduced its forecast for global oil prices next year by $18 a barrel to $83. Weakness in the global economy will crimp demand for oil, while production in places like the U.S. keeps rising. The result: Drivers will pay $2.94 per gallon on average in 2015, 45 cents lower than this year. Based on expected gasoline consumption, that's a savings of $60.9 billion. That may not seem like a lot in the context of a $17.5 trillion U.S. economy, but economists say it matters because it immediately gives consumers more money to spend on other things. Consumer spending accounts for 70 percent of the U.S. economy.
The average gasoline price in the U.S. has fallen for 48 straight days and is at its lowest point since December of 2010, according to AAA. That was also the last full year when the average came in below $3 a gallon. Drivers are now paying $2.92 per gallon on average, AAA says.