Lower oil prices may hurt the companies producing it, buy it's not all bad news for the U.S. economy and stocks. And analysts who spoke to CNBC pointed to a few kinds of companies that will benefit.
Firms using oil as a raw material, or rely on it for shipping, or which need low gas prices in order to get consumers in the door, will prosper in an environment of low energy prices.
"Low oil prices, which in turn have sent gas prices lower, are great news for the overall economy," said Anthony Grisanti, founder of GRZ Energy. "There are many sectors that will benefit from cheap oil that include airlines, autos, retailers to name a few."
U.S.-produced West Texas Intermediate crude was below $67 a barrel Thursday, while internationally priced Brent Crude was lower than $70. Partly as a result, the national average for a gallon of regular gasoline is now under $3 in 42 states, according to Triple A, meaning that consumers are saving $630 million dollars a day if you compare today's pricing to June's.
"Think of it this way...cheap fuel prices in the U.S. could be what cheap labor was for the BRICs."
Some companies that benefit will see cheap oil quickly trickle to the bottom line.
Analysts have already seen the boosts to airlines like Delta, American, and Jet Blue; they also see an impact in the automobile sector. November was a strong month for auto sales, and companies like General Motors and Chrysler are seeing more demand for SUVs as consumers take advantage of low gas prices to buy less efficient vehicles. Another way to play autos? Good Year Tire—the company is expected to see robust sales as consumers get ready to hit the road this winter.
"RBOB gasoline futures hit a five-year low this week; of course, that's going to have an impact on everything from auto sales to consumer spending in other parts of the economy," Grisanti said.
And speaking of consumer spending and retailers, Target, Walmart, TJ Maxx are just some of the names in the group that are expected to gain as more shoppers may visit brick-and-mortar stores this holiday season.
"I've been watching energy with great interest," said Jeffrey Solomon, CEO of Cowen and Company. "Think of it this way...cheap fuel prices in the U.S. could be what cheap labor was for the BRICs."
"[Low oil prices] really mean a return to fundamentals for us. It's important about watching your investment decisions, being very disciplined about everything and looking for opportunities that may present themselves in an environment like this," Rex Tillerson, CEO of Exxon told CNBC.