With oil prices down, what’s next for gas prices?

Oil well (CNN photo)

NEW YORK, N.Y. (CNN) – While the stock market has been getting the attention for its roller-coaster ride, oil has continued its slide downward. Drivers waiting to see that drop at the gas pumps, may need to hold on for just awhile longer.

The stock market’s wild ride may make people queasy, but consumers are happier about oil prices.

Crude oil recently slipped below $40 per barrel for the first time since 2009.

So where’s the big drop for drivers?

Patrick Dehaan of Gas-Buddy.com says there are some factors buoying the nationwide average at the pump.

“A lot of the disconnect in the last week and a half,” said Dehaan.  “Gasoline prices in a portion of the country have been going up very significantly in light of a big refinery outage in the Midwest and that’s really pulled the national average up kind of artificially.”

That BP refinery in Indiana is now back online, and Midwest prices, expected to ease.”

The higher prices are also a function of what gas stations are required to sell right now – a summer blend with a slightly higher price tag until September 15th.

So don’t expect the big drop in time for Labor Day travel. But a downward trend will continue into the fall.

“The national average could breach $2 per gallon by Christmas,” said Dehaan. “That would mean thousands of stations under $2 per gallon, but it’s going to take time to get there.”

The dip in gas prices should be uplifting to the rest of the u-s economy, putting an average of $50 per month in gas savings, back in consumers’ wallets.

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