By on December 19, 2014

Cheap Gas In Louisville Kentucky Circa Mid-December 2014

Remember when we thought $2.55 for a gallon of regular was going to make for a good Christmas? Turns out the new average is $2.47, the lowest average price reported in five years.

Also: That’s a photo shot by one of my relatives back in Louisville, Ky., where some stations are pumping gas for as low as $1.96/gallon.

Automotive News reports that by January 1, 2015, gasoline could be selling for as much as $2.25 to $2.40 nationally, a seasonal low not seen since 2008. The current average is down from a peak of $3.69 in April, hitting below $2.50 for the first time since October 2009.

Lower fuel prices — caused by OPEC’s decision to play the short game against United States oil production, and, perhaps, to make Putin tap out — is putting more money into the pockets of consumers, who are, in turn, using the savings to buy new vehicles, including SUVs, CUVs and trucks.

The new-car rush is helping to make this December one to remember, with J.D. Power and LMC Automotive both forecasting a 10.4 percent increase in sales over last December. Both added that 2015 will see 17 million units sold for the first time since 2001, while this year will close at 16.5 million.

As for the oil, West Texas Intermediate is going for $53.60/barrel, while Brent is moving for $58.50/barrel. Both prices are the lowest recorded since May 2009.

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92 Comments on “Fuel Prices Fall Further, Auto Sales Soar Higher In December...”


  • avatar
    Lie2me

    $30 fill-ups fit nicely in my Christmas budget. I really don’t care who’s economy is toppled because of it. My economy is my number one priority

    • 0 avatar
      Fred

      Unless you are in Texas, then half this state runs on oil and gas. There has already been a slowdown in permits.

    • 0 avatar
      ect

      I have to smile. At the risk of betraying my age, in 1971 (fresh from a summer working in a nickel mine in northern Manitoba) I bought a 1966 Austin-Healey Sprite Mk III, which had a 6-gallon (Imp.) gas tank.

      Even using premium gas, I got change from $3 every time I filled it, for at least the first 2 years I owned it.

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        @ etc:

        Your $3 would be worth $17.49 today:

        “http://data.bls.gov/cgi-bin/cpicalc.pl?cost1=3&year1=1971&year2=2014”

        The 6 Imp gal. tank is 7.2 US gallons. So you were paying the equivalent of $2.43/gallon back then.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Everybody at that gas station has poor choice in cars, except the semi driver. Also, how many old school Wal-Marts are left?! Not many I’d suspect.

  • avatar
    skor

    Make no mistake about it, this is all about making Putin ‘tap out’, it’s also unsustainable. Unfortunately the American car buying public is like Charlie Brown trying to kick that football. Look at new vehicles that are flying off the shelves…pickups and SUVs. Good grief!

    • 0 avatar
      dwford

      Yes. Car buyers do shop seasonally, as if the other seasons will never come again. So it’s SUV’s in the winter, sports cars in the summer.

    • 0 avatar
      Carlson Fan

      I’ve said it before, perfect time for me to get rid of my 12 MPG GMC 2500HD PU and go pick me up a lease return Chevy Volt! I’ll bet I could trade my 11 year old 160K mile GMC even up for a 3 year old 30K mile Volt. i might even drive off the lot with money in my back pocket!….LOL

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        My dad traded in his 2008 Silverado 1500 W/T. It had over 80K miles on it and needed some work. He still got $7500. On the other hand, he would have had to pay the dealer to take their HHR.

        • 0 avatar
          Carlson Fan

          My local Chevy dealer told me around 12K on my ’04 but that’s without looking at the truck or talking price on the newer vehicle. Either way I’m sure the Volts are glued to the lot with $2.25 a gallon gas in MN. I’ll bet the GMC wouldn’t last more than 2 or 3 days before it was gone.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            I was surprised because it was a regular cab, needed tires, is 2WD, and has a V6. If it was a 2008 Crew Cab, 4WD, and had a V8, now we’re talking cheddar.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Trucks in the auction market will go way up now, watch and see.

      • 0 avatar
        Xeranar

        Because people run businesses with those vehicles. I’m not exactly sure why you’re making class/value judgments based on the practical realities of the market. That aging GMC is worth more to a poor contractor who will use it to haul supplies than to an average family looking to save on fuel. Mind you if that was a quarter-ton pickup the same age that deal would be way out of your favor.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          I know why trucks are popular. We had 9 of them as recently as last year. We sold off the business assets and that was the truck my dad was driving since he retired. I’m just surprised a truck that we bought for $15k seven years ago is worth enough for a dealership to give my father $7500. Especially since the blue book trade value was $4400 in excellent condition.

          I made no sort of class judgement. I’ve worked with enough contractors and union masons to know how important trucks are to people in various trades. I’m typing this while wearing my Local 514 T-shirt. I’m in the union but I’m a manager in another industry. Save the class judgement talk for someone else

          • 0 avatar
            Xeranar

            Fair enough, good sir. I just felt it’s a bit unfair to throw up a vehicle that is going to ‘make’ money (in a relative sense) versus a volt. You could really compare that to ANY other vehicle that is for personal transportation and come up with a similar value equation because a transportation vehicle has a negative value in most up-front cost evaluations (without calculating the cost of living without) vs. an obvious money maker.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            I guess the biggest disparity in my post was comparing value a desirable vehicle with income earning potential to an HHR. No one wants ignition switch recalled GM products. The HHR has almost no value. I should have elaborated further. I personally find it interesting that two GM products, from the same time period, that have the same listed value (KBB, Edmunds, NADA), have such a different actual market value.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            The HHR was GM’s effort to prove that a car could be badge engineered without sharing any parts or relationship with the original.

            They succeeded. They even hired the guy who had designed the PT Cruiser to design the HHR. In effect, they went out of their way to build an also-ran from the start.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Yeah. I think it was just so cheap that my parents decided it would be a decent disposable vehicle. Ironically, it has a better chance of killing them than them killing it. It’s been very reliable, but I hate it.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            All kidding aside, it was intended to do for GM what the PT Cruiser did for Chrysler — provide a car that could be classified as a truck for CAFE purposes, a more fuel efficient offset to the Silverado.

      • 0 avatar
        87 Morgan

        I said the same thing to my wife, only I have no interest in unloading one of my gas guzzlers. I figure by January a guy may be able find a pretty slick deal on a Volt on the used lot. I think those cars are just fascinating technology and will make efforts to pick one up to have around when the inevitable occurs, which is fuel prices spike and everyone freaks out.

    • 0 avatar
      Superdessucke

      Everything’s bigger in America, trucks and waistlines. Good news is there will be tons of big’ Murican pick’ em ups at Carmax this summer after gas prices spike up again.

  • avatar
    dwford

    I’ll take the cheap gas and heating oil while I can get it, but I doubt it will last. Look at the 10 year chart from GasBuddy:

    http://www.gasbuddy.com/gb_retail_price_chart.aspx

    The last few years have been relatively stable, but the prices were due for a crash as the stable high prices lead to oversupply.

  • avatar
    seth1065

    ok so in two years when the price is back to $3.89 for gas there will be a lot of choice gas guzzlers on the use car lot for good prices so folks can save some money when the trade in for a smaller car, people have very very short memories and it will bite them in the butt. Now I can see if your trading in one older F150 for a ram that may make sense but only if you do not care about the price of gas and plan on keeping the car a long time but I doubt that is what folks are doing.

  • avatar
    petezeiss

    Reading a profound macroeconomic significance into a brief, spotty, highly regional and mild hiccup downwards in gas prices is, I still maintain, silly-pants.

    Them people was gonna buy new cars anyway and they was gonna buy big anyway because stupid and impulsive.

  • avatar
    madman2k

    $1.85 this morning for ethanol blend in Midwest City, Oklahoma.

    Around 4 cents to drive a mile then, at just under 50MPG.

    If I had kept my 6MPG F-250 with the carbureted 460 I’d be driving it around a lot more than when I had it in San Diego at 4.25 a gallon.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    I did double takes when it hit $2.20 around here. NM is one of those states with wells and refineries but the gas we produced generally doesn’t get consumed around here.

    I should take a drive up to Farmington, NM and see if the economy is tanking. There’s lots of oil field workers and workshops, also drives the truck accessory business. There might be quite a few tough looking guys crying into their beers at the local bars.

  • avatar
    Occam

    I swapped a gas-hog Element for a Fit last time gas prices crashed.

    It would have been an awesome score if I didn’t absolutely hate the Fit after six months, and just dealt with the depreciation hit to get out of it!

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    Back in my mid-Michigan days, it was rumored that Dow Chem had some batch process that produced gasoline as a byproduct and they could would underprice anybody. Whatever the reason, I remember 25 cent gas. Good old tetraethyl lead at no extra charge! Anybody else remember “Bay” brand gas?

  • avatar
    George B

    I saw $1.919/gallon at a Valero station in Plano, TX Friday morning. A little surprised to randomly see a pump price that low for top tier gasoline. I’m glad low prices coincide with Christmas driving.

    I can’t imagine running out and buying a gas guzzler because gasoline prices are currently low. They can’t stay this low for multiple years. However, I also wouldn’t be likely to buy a hybrid right now unless there was a lot of cash on the hood.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      I’m in Irving, TX at the moment, and that is what I paid about an hour ago to fill up my rental. Which is an Audi A4 Quattro Sportline courtesy of SilverCar this week. 35mpg going to Ardmore, OK and back, not too shabby. Fly home to Maine tomorrow.

      Sadly, I get to do it again next weekend (I can’t WAIT to fly on the Saturday after Christmas), as we had issues and could not do the project. Waste of a *very* expensive trip to Texas. But a nice car to drive around at least. Client is an oil E&P company that shall remain nameless, and yes, they are completely screwed at the moment. Luckily this project was locked in months ago, as are a couple more after New Years in Houston and Denver for them.

  • avatar

    I spent $38 and change to fill my 14-point-something-gallon tank with diesel from empty yesterday, at a rate of $2.75/gallon.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    Putin should invade Saudi Arabia. It’s not as if we’d do anything about it.

  • avatar
    jimbob457

    It is all about fracking.

    Right now the Saudis have the luxury of slamming oil prices down to see what it takes to stop the rise in US crude oil production. What is the bottom line cost of crude oil from fracking in the long run?

    We are about to find out.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    Good news for all.

    Everyone here wants to complain about some perceived short-sightedness, no. The majority of the people that can afford a brand new vehicle with an under 20 avg MPG are not even close to short-sighted, and it’s a real insult to your own intelligence to believe just that.

    How about we stop trying to be psychologists and just be happy what this is doing for our economy. Just for a while let’s enjoy an economy that’s not completely in the toilet.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      … said the man who drives a Hummer

      .

      lol, I agree

    • 0 avatar
      Xeranar

      Our economy will be fine if OPEC raised or lowered barrel prices, we’re not nearly as reliant on fracking for economic recovery as the right would have us believe. This is a short-term benefit though, as oil this cheap will eventually cause overconsumption and we’ll rise again.

      The real benefit is that we’ll see less and less sharp peaks with each rise as the fleet average increases so price jumps won’t hit as hard.

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        No doubt we can survive at $3.50-4, but the benefits of low fuel prices on small/large bussinesses, gov’t functions, donations, and general welfare is positive.

        • 0 avatar
          Xeranar

          Of course! I’m not complaining at $2 a gallon, that’s effectively 1990 prices adjusted for inflation, even a bit below that.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            I really should cross over to South Carolina or Virginia sometime soon, I’ll probably never see $2.00 or below in NC with our gas tax.
            (Plus it’s going up $0.01 in January)

  • avatar
    jrmason

    Low gas prices are a good start but with diesel fuel still averaging $3.50 a gallon you won’t see anything else dropping anytime soon. Sustained lower #2 prices would really put a jump start on the economy (think transportation, construction, agriculture, etc.etc). Even though most of us never directly buys a gallon of diesel, we have all come to depend on it to support the lifestyle we are accustomed to. Eventually the relief would be passed on to the consumer which would benefit many more people than the ones thay are enjoying the few bucks they’re saving at the pump 2 or 3 times a month. But prices for the most part have remained rather stale despite the surplus, which tells me somebody likes the economy right where it is.

  • avatar
    Type44

    “gas will never be cheap again, oil is going to be $200 a barrel. Get used to it!”

    So I did. I started budgeting for $10/gallon gas in 2008. The “leftover” funds from not buying $10 gas… Go in the Roth IRA. This has felt like a pretty good strategy so far, since it’s never been more than $5. $1.88 gas means I’m saving myself rich!

  • avatar
    lOmnivore Sobriquet

    Soaring auto sales, “higher”, must be connected with the hyper-bubble of auto loans. Much fatter than the ‘low fuel’ 6-months hype.
    Combined with the students’ loan bubble that’s on the same path, it’s going to break previous records.
    If I’m well informed.

  • avatar
    Xeranar

    I never see this in the discussion but I have to wonder how much of the vehicle market is not crossing over. The presumption is always that the public is uniform, when Corolla sales go up it’s because F-150s and Suburbans are being turned in. The practical reality is that there is some obvious overlap but you could imagine that much of the SUV/PU market is buying when the prices go down because they can logically justify a new purchase. Kind of like how you don’t buy steak when you’re on a budget but when the bills ease up after christmas you’re back out at Ruth Chris or Outback.

  • avatar

    Filled up the car, 3.19 for high test. Diesel car still gets 3.60, sadly. Usually the diesel/midgrade price is equal here in the NY area. Lots of stations with 2.95 regular around. Still a .70 cent difference between regular and high grade.

    I paid 2.85 for home heating oil, and in New Jersey, saw diesel for 3.09….and regular was close to $2 !!!!

    I was paying 4.50 for high test last year….and 4.20 (no jokes) for diesel.

    The consumer is so frequently shafted, that I’m happy for this rare break. I’m sure it is not about me and part of someone’s much larger play…like breaking Russia…or some such.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “consumers, who are, in turn, using the savings to buy new vehicles”

    At 15k miles annually, 25 mpg average, that 600 gallons/year.

    If the consumer is saving $1.50/gallon, that’s $900/year.

    Over a 5-year car payment, that’s $4500 more car you can buy. But does anyone really think this trend will last 5 years?

    Not only that, but low fuel prices will gradually reduce the prices of everything, and this will eventually suppress wages. Wage suppression will happen just when fuel prices take off again, and then we’ll see lots of repo cars available on the market.

    On the other hand, increased economic activity will tend to raise prices on goods, so maybe wages won’t slow after all.

    Type44’s philosophy (above) is the way to go.

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