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Low Gas Prices Could Yield Billions in Savings for Americans

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If you think you’ve been saving a lot recently on filling up the family jalopy, you haven’t seen anything yet. Americans could pocket up to $75 billion in 2015 on gas, as long as prices remain low through the year, according to AAA’s final monthly gas price report for 2014.

The report, released Wednesday, said Americans had already stashed away $14 billion in savings on gas in 2014, with the bulk of the savings coming in the last few months of the year. Those savings, which equaled about $115 per household versus 2013, already translated into higher consumer spending over the holidays. “U.S. drivers ended the year on a high-note with gas prices plummeting over the last few months,” said Avery Ash, AAA spokesman. ”Cheaper gas prices have helped to improve the economy by boosting both consumer confidence and disposable income.”

The national average at the pump now is about $2.26 per gallon, the lowest since May of 2009. Prices have fallen for 97 consecutive days, AAA said in the report, the longest declining streak on record. Whether prices will remain this low is hard to guess, because they are pegged to the price of oil, which has tumbled amid a global supply glut. A slew of factors could affect oil supply, including the global economy, instability in oil-producing countries and a decline in profits at oil companies yielding a drop in production. For now, AAA predicts that the national average could remain below $3.00 per gallon in 2015, so rev up those engines.

IN-DEPTH

-- Patrick Rizzo

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