The national average price for a gallon of regular gasoline was $3.43 Thursday, according to the AAA motor club, nearly a dime lower than a month ago. Energy and travel analysts project the lowest gasoline prices this holiday weekend of any Labor Day since 2010, and the highest level of motor travel since 2008.
Nowhere is the boom bigger than in Texas, home to two of three of the nation’s biggest shale-oil drilling frenzies. While oil rushes are nothing new to the state, the new bonanza has doubled the state’s crude production over the last two years, suddenly making Texas a bigger producer than either Kuwait or Venezuela.
“If it weren’t for that, we would be seeing $200 a barrel oil or higher and $7 to $8 gasoline prices,” said Scott D. Sheffield, chief executive of Pioneer Natural Resources, one of the most aggressive producers in the Eagle Ford shale field.