Americans Are Happily Tweeting Gas Pump Photos: Why Prices Are Lower

PHOTO: The price of regular gasoline dropped to $2.659 per gallon at the Hi Tech Fuels station on Brainerd Road and other stations in Chattanooga, Tenn., on Oct. 21, 2014. PlayJohn Rawlston/Chattanooga Times Free Press/AP Photo
WATCH Gas Continues to Fall Below $3

Drivers are so happy about gas prices dipping below $3 that they are tweeting photos at the pump. And they have U.S. oil production and European economic concerns to thank.

The weekly national average was $3.06 for regular on Monday, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, down 6 cents from last week and 24 cents from a year ago.

Prices should remain relatively low for the rest of 2014, averaging $2.90 to $3.10 nationally, according to Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst with

"I don't see a big increase before the end of the year," DeHaan said.

The excitement over the dropping prices has motorists posting photos of gas stations through social media.

What's causing the drop? One reason is a continued boom in U.S. drilling production -- the highest since the 1980s -- namely, due to shale oil.

"High oil prices brought more exploration and new drilling techniques, and it's now starting to pay off," DeHaan said. Penny-pinching Americans have almost forgotten July 2008, when crude oil prices peaked around $147.50 a barrel.

Second, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), an intergovernmental cartel of 12 nations, may be more concerned about competition from the U.S. The group is trying to undercut prices to keep their crown as the world's largest oil producer, DeHaan said.

Another reason for low prices is European economic jitters, particularly a report out Monday forecasting weak growth in Germany.

"A potential slowdown means lower oil consumption. And if the most powerful economy in Europe falters, it's likely more could as well. Oil prices and demand are always lower in recession," DeHaan said.

PHOTO: Gas prices are displayed at an Arco gas station on Oct. 27, 2014 in Mill Valley, Calif. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Gas prices are displayed at an Arco gas station on Oct. 27, 2014 in Mill Valley, Calif.