European financial crisis drives U.S. gas prices lower

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URBANA -- Good news for summer gas prices.  Some experts are saying prices will stay lower than normal all summer long.

A financial crisis in Spain -- banks going broke -- means a weakened economy, and less demand for oil.

University of Illinois professor Don Fullerton says it may mean less pain at the pump this summer.

"The crisis in Europe right now is more likely to reduce the price in the future, if anything," Fullerton said.

But prices are already lower in Urbana.  At $3.41, Tiarra Beaver is fueling for about 20 cents cheaper than most of Central Illinois.

"There has to be a reason," Beaver said.

According to Fullerton, the reasons are many.

"Each different town changes relative to each other," Fullerton said.  "So it's only temporary.  That will all get evened out as the market equilibrates."

Because changes in gas prices come down to shifting supply and demand on a global scale.

Because there are oil suppliers -- and demand for oil -- worldwide, Fullerton said any changes in supply or demand in those countries can all influence the world price of crude oil.

The national average for gas per gallon on Monday was $3.54.  Exactly one year ago, it was $3.71.

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