Lower gas prices mean more spending money

Gas prices are below $3 nationally for the first time since 2010
Lower gas prices mean more spending money

This is always a busy time of year for Mike Flint and his staff at Mallatt’s Pharmacy and Costumes.

“We have a lot of fun this time of year,” Flint said.

There’s something else for Flint and families to look forward to this year.

According to AAA, gas prices across the country are the lowest they’ve been for 44 months.  It’s been more than three and a half years since we’ve seen the cost of a gallon of gasoline less than $3.

In Madison, AAA data shows gas averages $3.16 a gallon, about 15 cents cheaper than this time last year.

“In the grand scheme of things, it’s a nice little break, you know, it puts a few more dollars in your pocket when you pull up to the pump,” regional AAA spokesperson Nick Jarmusz said.

Jarmusz said drivers shouldn’t expect the lower prices to last forever, but with the lack of disruptions in crude oil production and exports, Jarmusz does expect the cost of gas to drop even more in Wisconsin before the new year.

“Heading into the holiday season, you know kind of put that away and maybe put a few more gifts under the tree,” Jarmusz said.

Research shows for every cent deducted from gas prices, consumers have a billion more dollars in disposable income to spend.

Flint hopes that kind of extra cash will translate to people spending a little extra on their Halloween needs this year.

“It increases disposable income, and timing is perfect for Halloween,” Flint said.  “People love to get dressed up for Halloween, and you know, it is not unusual for people to come in and spend $50 to $100 on a Halloween costume.”

In addition, Mallatt’s delivers about 200 prescriptions every day all over the state, and that takes a lot of gas.

“I imagine we easily put on 200 to 500 miles a day, and you start extrapolating that out, it’s in the thousands of dollars easy,” Flint said.

Money can’t buy happiness, but that kind of money back in Flint’s pocket is enough to make him or any businessman smile.

“A little more Halloween business never hurts, so that’s a good combination,” Flint said.

Jarmusz doesn’t expect gas prices in Wisconsin to drop below the $3 per gallon mark.