Why the Low Gas Prices?

Jan 20, 2015

Credit Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources / Flickr

The word “staycation” seemed to enter the lexicon when gas prices were continually on the rise a few years back. Now, to the delight of consumers, gas prices are on the decline, and genuine vacations may be back in vogue.

Joining us for a look at how this is impacting the nation is Robert Morris University Economics Professor Brian O’Roark.

O’Roark says that prices were higher previously due in part to anticipated demand. In response, producers increased production, but then less demand materialized. Fracking, O’Roark explains, has played a role in adding to the available supply of gasoline.

The result was substantial supply and less demand than anticipated, leading to today’s fuel surplus and, consequently, lower prices.

Pump prices, O’Roark acknowledges, also reflect state gas taxes, which vary significantly from state to state. And while low gas taxes might be attractive to consumers, he emphasizes that the taxes are used to fund important infrastructure projects that drivers rely on.

Low gas prices can be good for consumers but introduce complications into the national economy, O’Roark concludes.