Gas the cheapest it's been in 8 years – approaching lows of $1.50 a gallon - Bring Me The News

Gas the cheapest it's been in 8 years – approaching lows of $1.50 a gallon

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Oil prices continue to tumble amid a global oversupply, and as a result prices at the gas pumps in Minnesota are the lowest they've been for years.

According to GasBuddy.com, the average price of regular unleaded across the state is $1.73 per gallon, well below the $1.89 U.S. average and down 17 cents in the last month alone.

It's the lowest average price in Minnesota for almost eight years, when it hit $1.56 at the onset of the financial crisis in 2008.

The cheapest gallons can be found at Costco stores in the metro area, with the Maple Grove and Coon Rapids outlets selling gas at $1.54.

 Gas prices in Minnesota are at the lowest level since 2008. (Photo: GasBuddy.com)

Gas prices in Minnesota are at the lowest level since 2008. (Photo: GasBuddy.com)

The cheapest gas that doesn't involve being part of a retail club can be found in Cambridge, where Casey's and Holiday gas stations are selling it at $1.55 a gallon.

It comes as the BBC reports the price of Brent Crude oil, used as the international benchmark, fell below $28 a barrel – the lowest seen since 2003.

The price of U.S. Crude meanwhile fell below $29.

Knock-on effects of cheap gas

But while Minnesotans may be saving at the gas station, they could be losing money if they have anything invested in the stock market.

NBC News reported on Friday that U.S. investors have taken a battering in recent weeks and the low oil prices have been given much of the blame.

It noted the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Standard & Poor 500 had fallen around 8 percent since the start of the year, while the Nasdaq was 10 percent down;

With oil having fallen significantly from over $100 a barrel in summer 2014, NBC News says energy company profits have been "eviscerated" and made it harder for them to meet their debt obligations.

There's also the question of how consumers spend the money they're saving on gas. According to Time magazine, a "disproportionate amount" of the gas savings is being spent on fast food, tobacco, alcohol and, in some cases, gambling.

It also notes the impact on carmakers may also be unexpectedly negative. While people buy more vehicles when gas is cheap, Time says automakers are investing hefty amounts improving fuel economy and shifting to electric and alternative-fuel cars – but cheap gas gives consumers little incentive to seek out economical vehicles.

Related

Gas prices hit $4 a gallon in Minnesota

Prices for a gallon of gasoline in the Bemidji area are among some of the highest in the country according to AAA. Spokeswoman Gail Weinholzer tells Minnesota Public Radio that Hurricane Isaac as well as a pipeline problem in Wisconsin and refinery problems in Chicago have bumped prices up at the pump. Minnesota's average is $3.95, which is eight cents higher than the national average.

Cost of natural gas at 10-year low

CenterPoint Energy told WCCO, January's home heating prices are at their lowest point in 10 years. The company says heating demand is down 14 percent compared to last winter. A spokesperson says the average gas bill is about 25 percent less, a trend that is expected to continue into 2012.

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