$1.07 in Southern Cal!
I'm curious as to what could be "bad" about low gas prices. I always felt that the price of gasoline was controlled by supply and demand (free-market capatilist that I am), and the current low prices seem to justify that. I mean, who could seriously accuse the gas companies of "gouging" consumers with >$2.00/gallon gas prices, and then a few months later voluntarily halving gas prices! I find that preposterous.
I also think low gas prices can have no adverse effects (except for increased pollution, where I think reasonable goverment controls are appropriate). As long as the price of gas is allowed to fluctuate with supply and demand, with no artificial caps (set by government) or minimums (set by industry collusion or government subsidies) , the price will reflect the current supply against how much people want it. Can we run out? No. Or shall I say, can we run out? If we did, no one would care! Why? Here's why:
As the supply of gas gets shorter, the price of gas goes up. That makes it more profitable to refine more gas, so there will be more gas refined, increasing the supply and stabailizing the price, in addition to people taking measures to use less gas (as has happened this year!).
If the real supply of gas ever approached 0, the price of gas would increase proportionally (and infinitely). (That's why diamond miners don't unearth all the diamonds they can, they just produce enough diamonds to keep the industry supplied at a profitable rate.) As happened, people would naturally seek alternate forms of energy for their cars. (That's why electric cars have such a hard time catching on. Gas is so much cheaper and better, for now!) Restated: As the supply of gas grows smaller, there will be a gradual, painless, and profitable migration to alternate forms of fuel. It will happen naturally, with no encouragement from the government needed, let alone government research or grants. Some people may wish to hurry this process along by force, but there is no need to.
As long as our environment is protected by reasonable measures, a steady supply of gasoline priced to reflect supply and demand can only help our economy grow, and raise our standard of living.
Cheers, and no, I don't work in the auto/oil industry.
My understanding is that in the northern suburbs of Atlanta, we are right on the shipping pipeline, and that is why ours is always the lowest. Problem is, I have to drive 25 miles each way to work, like most people here, and we use alot, so I'm sure the demand has something to do with it, as well.