As falling oil prices stoke worries about flagging demand and a weakening global economy, some are pointing to the silver lining that lower energy costs could shine on consumers.
'Huge tax cut for the world'
Brent crude hit a four-year low on Wednesday, and U.S. oil threatened to fall below $80 a barrel for the first time since June 2012. BlackRock CEO Laurence Fink told CNBC's "Squawk Box" that while current levels of fear over the direction of the global economy may be appropriate, there is good news hiding in the bad.
"With this global slowdown, you're starting to see a real meltdown in the oil and petroleum markets, which obviously affects the stock market because it affects the oil companies," he said. "But it is a huge tax cut for the world. The market right now is so absorbed with the negatives, there's some huge positives that are coming out of this."
One of those positives: For Americans, falling gas prices amount to an early holiday present, according to Fink.
"We're going to see 30 to 40 cents decrease at the pump right into the Christmas season, so it should be good for U.S. retailers," he said.
In a research note released on Wednesday, Joseph LaVorgna and Brett Ryan of Deutsche Bank broke down the effect that lower gas prices could have on the economy.
With retail gas prices down to $3.30 per gallon as of Oct. 6 from a peak of $3.70 in June, LaVorgna and Ryan wrote, "this 40 cent decline in prices will give U.S. households a significant lift to their cash flow."
For every 1 cent that consumers save on gasoline, Deutsche Bank calculates that U.S. households can spend about $1 billion more in the broader economy.
Deutsche Bank noted that U.S. household energy consumption decreased by $105 billion after a 91-cent fall in gas prices in 2009. Conversely, energy consumption increased by $49 billion the following year as gas prices rose 44 cents.
If that pattern holds—and if gas prices remain 40 cents below June levels—Deutsche Bank projects consumers could save $40 billion dollars on the amount they spend at the pump.
Asked on CNBC's "Squawk on the Street" whether falling oil prices point to weaker economic growth, Larry Robbins, CEO of Glenview Capital Management, also pointed to the upside.
"While oil falling is bad for energy companies, and it is potentially globally destabilizing, if you're the U.S. consumer, you see your wages going up 2 percent, you see the cost of commodities going down 4.5 to 5 percent," said Robbins. "As a U.S.consumer, that's quite good news unless you happen to be long energy."