Oil prices have declined primarily due to concerns that a rapid slowdown in the global economy will undermine demand. That widespread weakness should continue to put downward pressure on gas prices as oil moves through refineries, a process that takes weeks.
Premium gas has fallen, too, from $4.265 to $4.024 over the past month, and should dip below the $4 a gallon barrier soon. That's good news for owners of expensive sports cars and luxury vehicles.
This gas price decline couldn't come at a better time for the U.S. economy. The holiday sales season will begin within a few weeks. Many retailers count on sales in the final two months of the year for all of their annual profits. These retailers add jobs based on revenue forecasts, and many large retail firms have already done so. Their ability to keep those people employed beyond the end of the year will depend on whether shoppers fill malls and stores between now and year's end.
Low gas prices won't keep the U.S. out of a new recession -- but they'll help.