Oil prices fall to $109 a barrel

A rickshaw driver carries empty oil barrels on a HoChiMinh city street.

STEVE CHIOTAKIS: Oil prices are down today again for the third day in a row now. A barrel of the stuff will fetch about $109. The continued slide follows slower than expected growth in the U.S. economy. So does that mean we might see some relief at the local gas pump?

Reporter Christopher Werth is in London today to talk about it. Hi Christopher.

CHRISTOPHER WERTH: Hi Steve.

CHIOTAKIS: So, no one wants to see a slow recovery of course, but there could be a bit of a silver lining right? In terms of when we're trying to fill up the tank?

WERTH: On the one hand yes. I mean it's pretty simple stuff right? A slower economy means Americans will be driving less. And that reduced demand will push oil prices down. Gas prices would follow suit. That's one scenario because the price of oil used to be tied fairly closely to the ups and downs of the U.S. economy.

CHIOTAKIS: Used to be? What do you mean by that?

WERTH: That's right, Steve. There's a big but here. You know, we live in the age of globalization. As we all know, other economies in the world are growing by leaps and bounds.

I spoke with Nick McGregor this morning. He's an oil analyst with Redmayne Bentley. And he says that could mean oil prices and gas prices stay higher than they would have been in the past.

NICK McGREGOR: The emergence of China, India and other large economies has helped take up the slack in demand America creates. The real danger is of course is: U.S. economy stagnates, other economies grow, and American consumers face high gas prices and lower incomes.

So, that's the other scenario. The economy slows, Americans drive less, but oil prices still rise. And that could harder for the U.S. economy to recover. But Steve, How much are you paying for a gallon of gas at the pump?

CHIOTAKIS: Here, in Calif., Chris I think it's like four-something, $4.29 -- something like that.

WERTH: Well, Steve consider yourself lucky. Here in Britain, we're talking right around $9.00 dollars a gallon. Luckily I take the London Underground everywhere I need to go.

CHIOTAKIS: I guess you do. All right, Christopher Werth reporting from London. Christopher thanks.

WERTH: Thanks Steve.

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