Oil prices tumbled to their lowest level this year after the government offered further evidence that a souring economy is forcing Americans to drive less.
Crude has now fallen 41 percent since surging to a all-time record $147.27 a barrel on July 11.
Falling oil prices have given consumers some relief at the gas pump. A gallon of regular fell about 3 cents overnight to a new national average of $3.447 a gallon Wednesday, but remain well above the year-ago average of $2.765 a gallon, according to auto club AAA, the Oil Price Information Service and Wright Express.
Some investors are cheered by falling oil prices, reasoning that consumers who pay less at the pump will spend more at the store. Other are fearful. They say weak oil demand signals trouble ahead in the form of lower orders for big ticket items and more.
And that leads to our Fast Money Reader Poll. Ultimately, do you think falling oil prices are a positive or negative force on the economy?
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CNBC.com with wires