The increasing supplies of domestic natural gas and oil that are holding down utility costs for Americans are also yielding broader economic benefits.
A study by Bank of America Merrill Lynch estimates that cheaper natural gas has saved U.S. consumers and companies an average of $566 million a day for the past year, USA Today reported. Natural gas prices are about a quarter of the average of global prices and about one-sixth the price paid by other countries such as Japan. Natural gas prices are down nearly 90 percent since 2003.
New domestic sources of oil combined with cheaper imports from Canada have saved almost $56 million a day. America pays about $6 a barrel less than world averages for crude oil.
Savings are even greater when exports are factored in. The United States has gone from being an energy importer to an exporter of almost $68 million per day of petroleum products and $32 million worth of coal daily. Add in about $5 million on natural gas liquid exports and the combined savings is almost $727 million a day.
Francisco Blanch, chief of commodities research for the bank, said savings could reach $1 billion a day by years end.
According to the study, the reduced energy costs are keeping the United States from sliding into another recession. Americans can spend their energy savings to meet other rising costs, pay bills or spend on other goods and services.