US Could Become World's Largest Exporter of Oil

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Falling gasoline prices: It has been a welcome sight for Americans trying to make ends meet in a depressed economy.

"They're lowering. It's amazing!" one woman exclaimed.

"The AAA prediction is that by Christmas we should have prices between $3.20 and $3.40 per gallon," AAA spokesman Avery Ash said.

But in some areas prices are already at the $3 mark.

"I'm thrilled," one motorist said. "I mean, have to buy gas no matter what, so now the fact that it costs a little bit less is definitely a little bit easier, especially now with Christmas and everything coming up."

So what's causing the sudden drop?

Experts say prices typically come down this time of year. Some refinery problems have been fixed. And it can also be a sign of a bad economy, when there is low demand from business.  

But what if prices came down and stayed down?

Experts now believe North America may become a net energy exporter by 2030 because of a surge in oil and gas production, as well as improvements in energy efficiency.

Not only that, they predict the United States will become the world's largest exporter of oil, surpassing countries like Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, and Iran. It's likely to be a gigantic change, with geo-political and economic consequences.

New technologies like fracking are finding previously untapped oil reserves across the United States.

"This unconventional revolution in oil and natural gas is already having a big impact on North America and the United States. It has created something like 1.7 million jobs in the last few years," Daniel Yergin said.

Cheaper energy is just what America's struggling economy needs.

**Originally aired December 11, 2012.

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