Where are you going to spend your 'fuel bonus'?

Thursday, January 7, 2016

You're much more likely to be elected president of the United States than to win Saturday's Powerball drawing -- which will be the largest in history, an estimated $675 million -- but won't keep millions of us from trying our luck.

Someone in Lincoln did win a "meager" $1 million in Wednesday night's drawing, but the best way to double your money is still to fold it in half and put it back in your wallet.

You probably haven't heard about the bonus you're going to receive from the oil companies this year. It's a modest one, but it works out to about $53 a person -- enough for a nice evening out.

You'll notice gasoline in the sub-$2 range around Southwest Nebraska, a pleasant surprise.

GasBuddy estimates motorists will spend $17 billion less for gasoline in 2016 than they did in 2015 as the national year average declines for the fourth straight year, $2.28 per gallon.

That $17 billion, divided by the U.S. population works out to $53.29 less that will be spent per person for gasoline, money that will be available for something else.

Fuel prices will go up as usual this year as refineries switch from "winter-blend" to "summer-blend" as mandated by the EPA.

Gasoline will probably peak at $2.70 in May, but that's still lower than last year's peak of $2.82.

The outlook is good for diesel as well, which is expected to have a yearly average price lower than gasoline for the first time since 2004.

Of course, the price of fuel is as volatile as the fuel itself, and will be influenced by factors such as conflicts in the Middle East, currency fluctuations, refinery maintenance and unscheduled outages, weather, shipping accidents, global economies, state tax changes and many other factors.

Long-term, we're all using less gasoline, just compare your current vehicle to the one you drove 10 years ago, for instance. And, Chevrolet, for example, is introducing a new all-electric car with a 200-mile range, selling for a competitive price, following a federal tax credit, using no gasoline at all.

You probably won't have trouble finding a use for that $53 saving, but there might even be a couple of bucks left over to buy a Powerball ticket.

Check out prices on GasBuddy.com at http://bit.ly/1OCqhyA

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: