WASHINGTON - After months of rising oil prices, Americans are finally getting a little relief at the pump. Gas prices have fallen by 10 cents to just over $4.00 a gallon.
Relief at the Pump
Prices of $3.85 a gallon and under have left some George drivers reeling.
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"It's exciting. $3.85 a gallon is pretty exciting. It takes a $140 to fill this thing up," one Georgia driver said.
One Illinois man said he's suddenly able to get new work boots because of the lower gas prices in his Chicago suburb.
"Over the next few weeks I'll save enough and break even on the work boots," he said.
With a little wiggling back and forth, generally the price of a barrel of oil has been plunging the past two weeks, from more than $147 a barrel to the mid-120s now. That's down nearly 15 percent.
Some analysts say it's just a natural correction to prices having soared so steeply in recent months.
The most recent drops had to do with such things as Hurricane Dolly not wiping out oil rigs as it ripped through the Gulf of Mexico.
Oil traders have also been noticing that Americans are actually using less fuel - down about 2.5 percent from this same time last year.
One investment house is even predicting just $90 dollars a barrel by next year, rather than the $200 a barrel others are forecasting.
Don't Relax Just Yet
Many of the fundamentals that drove prices up so quickly are still in place, so some analysts believe oil will start climbing again later this year.
And some drivers are filling up as fast as they can because they're betting the price at the pump might shoot right up again.
"It make me want to fill up right now. So I might. I just put twenty in there. I might go back in there and fill it up you know because it might be at $4.50 tomorrow. You never know," one driver speculated.
Another motorist said, "I would say $2.99 would be great. Will we see it? I doubt it."
Meanwhile some are still blaming speculators for the recent steep climb in oil prices.
But a new study by government regulators says it's just not so. It says the high price of oil is simply a case of old-fashioned supply and demand.