Gas Prices Start Falling Across U.S.

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Oct. 20 2012 2:54 PM

Gas Prices Start Falling Across the Country

A driver fills up her tank at a gas station in Alhambra, east of downtown Los Angeles

Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/GettyImages

Looks like it isn’t just the job numbers that are giving President Obama some breathing room as November approaches. Gas prices have started trending downward after reaching a record high this fall amid shortages and political volatility in the Middle East. But now inventories are rising and demand is dropping, which means prices could decrease 50 cents a gallon, from the high of $3.86 seen this month, over the next few weeks, reports USA Today. Gas now averages $3.72 a gallon, which is expected to drop to $3.35 by late November.

The drop is largely seasonal as gas prices decline every fall when oil producers switch to a cheaper blend of gasoline and demand drops, points out the Christian Science Monitor. This year that usual decline has been delayed by around a month but it looks like it’s finally coming. More important than national averages for the election could be the gas prices in key swing states, where prices are mostly lower, points out Rick Newman in U.S. News & World Report.

Although gas prices are only one factor in the larger economy, they do have a way of playing “an outsized effect on consumer psyches,” points out Newman, “depressing confidence when they’re going up and boosting contentment when they’re going down.”


Meanwhile, talks to economists who say President Obama’s claim during Tuesday’s debate that gas prices have increased since 2008 because of an improving economy is, at best, an exaggeration. Although it’s true, gas prices go down during a recession, other factors, such as refining costs and oil supply, play a much bigger role.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.



The End of Pregnancy

And the inevitable rise of the artificial womb.

Doctor Tests Positive for Ebola in New York City

How a Company You’ve Never Heard of Took Control of the Entire Porn Industry

The Hot New Strategy for Desperate Democrats

Blame China for everything.

The Questions That Michael Brown’s Autopsies Can’t Answer


Kiev Used to Be an Easygoing Place

Now it’s descending into madness.


Don’t Just Sit There

How to be more productive during your commute.

There Has Never Been a Comic Book Character Like John Constantine

Which Came First, the Word Chicken or the Word Egg?

  News & Politics
The Slate Quiz
Oct. 24 2014 12:10 AM Play the Slate News Quiz With Jeopardy! superchampion Ken Jennings.
Oct. 23 2014 5:53 PM Amazon Investors Suddenly Bearish on Losing Money
Oct. 23 2014 5:08 PM Why Is an Obscure 1968 Documentary in the Opening Credits of Transparent?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 23 2014 11:33 AM Watch Little Princesses Curse for the Feminist Cause
  Slate Plus
Oct. 23 2014 11:28 AM Slate’s Working Podcast: Episode 2 Transcript Read what David Plotz asked Dr. Meri Kolbrener about her workday.
Brow Beat
Oct. 23 2014 6:55 PM A Goodfellas Actor Sued The Simpsons for Stealing His Likeness. Does He Have a Case?
Oct. 23 2014 11:47 PM Don’t Just Sit There How to be more productive during your commute.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 24 2014 7:00 AM Gallery: The Partial Solar Eclipse of October 2014
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.