News of low gasoline prices typically seems like a mixed blessing in Louisiana. It’s great for drivers, but the falling fuel prices usually mean that crude oil prices have dropped, too.
And when the market signals less demand for petroleum, Louisiana’s economy, so heavily dependent on oil production, is bound to see some consequences.
All of this came to mind this week with a report that Baton Rouge boasts the lowest average gasoline price in the country right now — $2.07 a gallon. The average price for gasoline in the United States is $2.66. That’s 25 cents lower than a year ago.
An abundant supply of gasoline and low crude oil costs factored into the decreased price. Those lower prices are a holiday gift for Louisiana motorists getting in some final travels of the summer this Labor Day weekend. In the longer term, the cheap gas helps the daily bottom line of consumers, especially commuters who count driving as a routine cost of employment.
The lower cost of petroleum these days also underscores why Louisiana needs to continue to diversify its economy. Relying on the ups and downs of any single industry won’t get the state very far down the road to prosperity, even when it’s cheaper to fill up the tank.