Feeling a little more flush this year? Well, you soon could be – the dramatic fall in oil prices is expected is free up an average of $700 for each American household in 2015, according to the French lender Societe Generale.
If prices of around $2.31 a gallon are sustained this year, then households would have an extra 1.8 percent of their usual budget to spend, according to the bank. Economists at the Societe Generale also remained bullish on the U.S. recovery, are expect to see wage growth accelerate throughout 2015 and unemployment to continue its fall below 6 percent.
"We think investors may not fully appreciate the extent to which cheaper gasoline should boost U.S. consumer spending this year," the team of analysts said in a note on Friday.
"Lower gasoline prices in isolation (before the impact of cheaper energy and air travel) give consumers the equivalent of a near-2-percent pay rise in 2015."
Gasoline accounts for just over 5 percent of household spending in the U.S., according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. While Washington think tank Securing America's Future Energy (SAFE) said in September that average household spending on gas was over $2,600 in 2013 -- a 111 percent increase when compared to 2002.
The annual average price of gasoline in 2014 was $3.34 per gallon, according to AAA, which says it is now at $2.182 a gallon -- even lower than the target given by Societe Generale.
Even in Europe, where the cost of gas is less sensitive to oil price falls due to tax levies, consumers have seen changes at the pump. Average gas prices in the U.K. are back to levels last seen in the autumn of 2010, according to the British Automobile Association.