by: Jim Bradley Updated:
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Gas prices have dropped more than 40 cents in the last month in Charlotte, putting them lower than where they were at this time last year.
Eyewitness News spoke with experts on Monday who expect prices to keep going down through the end of the year, which is having a real impact on the bottom line for businesses and families.
Just a month ago, gas was hovering near $3.70 a gallon. On Monday in Charlotte gas is in the mid $3.20 range, more than 40 cents cheaper.
Greg Bacharach drives 200 miles a day for his sales job and the drop is saving him money.
"I figure $60 a month is probably what that 40 cents a gallon presents to me, so that is something else I get to spend the money on," said Bacharach.
The savings are even bigger in South Carolina where the gas prices are the lowest in the country at just over $3 a gallon.
Gas experts at AAA expect encouraging news for drivers to continue even with Thanksgiving travel approaching.
"Around Thanksgiving prices may not fall as rapidly as they have been. They might even go up a little bit, but they would continue to fall for the rest of the year after that," said Angela Daly from AAA Carolinas.
If that happens, Steve Blume said his company, which delivers tools and equipment to contractors, might be able to eliminate the fuel surcharge put in place earlier this year when prices approached $4 a gallon.
"Expenses are going down which we can also pass those savings on to our customers now by taking away that fuel surcharge eventually," said Blume.
For anyone filling up, the price at the pump is a reason to smile.
"Anytime I can put more money in my wallet I am happy about it," said Bacharach.
Economists said every 50 cent drop puts about $140 billion back into consumer pockets to spend on something else.
Eyewitness News has been monitoring the gas prices as they fell over the last few months.
Right now, drivers in North Carolina can expect to pay $3.27 per gallon in the Charlotte area, slightly below the state average of $3.31.
South Carolina is currently the cheapest in the country at $3.09 for a gallon of regular gas.