- Associated Press - Sunday, May 17, 2015

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Oklahoma families and consumers will likely benefit from lower energy prices as Memorial Day and the start of the summer vacation season approaches.

Lower prices already have led to cost savings. The average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline in Oklahoma City was about $2.41 Thursday, according to GasBuddy.com. While the price is up more than 20 cents over the past month, it is still 95 cents less than one year ago, The Oklahoman reported Sunday (https://bit.ly/1HlMqfv ).

Nationwide, the average price was about $2.70 Thursday, up 31 cents over the past month, but down 95 cents from one year ago.

Even though the price of oil has recovered almost 50 percent from its recent low set in March, gasoline remains a bargain compared to the past few years. Consumers are expected to take advantage.

AAA’s holiday travel forecast says Memorial Day holiday travel is expected to be up 5.3 percent this year in a move that would mark the highest travel volume in a decade. AAA says if gasoline prices hold current levels, the country will experience the least expensive Memorial Day gas prices in at least five years.

While gasoline may provide the most visible cost savings for consumers, it is far from the only benefit.

Lower natural gas prices likely will lead to lower summer air conditioning costs.

Coal historically has been the country’s largest fuel source for electricity generation, but lower natural gas prices - along with growing political pressure - have led utilities to increase their use of natural gas. Electricity generation from natural gas is expected to be just 3.5 percent less than coal-fired generation in April and May, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s Short-Term Energy Outlook released Thursday.

The only other time the two fuels have been so close was in April 2012, when natural gas powered just 1.5 percent less electricity than coal.

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Information from: The Oklahoman, https://www.newsok.com


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