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Plunging Gas Prices Could Put Oklahoma Economy In Danger

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Gas prices in Tulsa are below $2 a gallon for the first time since 2009. Gas prices in Tulsa are below $2 a gallon for the first time since 2009.
While the low price is great for drivers, it could put Oklahoma's economy in a dangerous position. While the low price is great for drivers, it could put Oklahoma's economy in a dangerous position.
Oil industry expert Bob Sullivan said the low prices could have negative ripples. Oil industry expert Bob Sullivan said the low prices could have negative ripples.
TULSA, Oklahoma -

The price of gas has been in free-fall recently, and right now it's down below $2 a gallon for the first time since 2009.

While the low price is great for drivers, it could put Oklahoma's economy in a dangerous position.

The low prices are because of the falling crude oil prices, and for an industry that is so prominent in Oklahoma and here in Tulsa, experts are starting to worry what it could mean for the long term.

Driver David Grinter said he thought he was seeing thing when he pulled into a gas station and saw the price was under $2 a gallon.

12/16/2014 Related Story: Price Of Gasoline Drops Below $2 A Gallon In Tulsa Metro

"I kind of, almost, assumed that was the wrong price when I was pulling up," Grinter said.

The 48th straight day of plunging prices has AAA estimating U.S. drivers are saving of $400 million a day.

Tara Roper filled up her Suburban for less than $40.

“Pretty awesome, it's great. I'm happy. Happy holidays," she said.

While Roper is filled with cheer, oil industry expert Bob Sullivan has a different look on the low prices.

"It will be painful. Short term it feels good to fill up at $1.99, but there will be economic ripples that are negative in this state," said Sullivan.

Over the weekend, Halliburton laid off 1,000 employees in order to work through the market environment; that has some wondering if that could be a sign of what's to come across Green Country.

"I think most larger companies will wait to see how the next month or so goes, but I can tell you they're all getting ready in case they have to do some cutting back," Sullivan said.

He said small businesses could feel the impact as well.

"If you're in the restaurant business in Oklahoma you are in the oil industry,” Sullivan said. “People who patronize your restaurants, many are tied to oil and gas industry, and they won't go in because they can't afford it."

We're not there yet, and Sullivan said we're not close to the oil bust back in the 80s.

"We've done this before. We will survive it and we will survive it with determination for the next upturn," he said.

For a little more perspective, the national average is at $2.53 a gallon. AAA said Oklahoma has the second lowest prices, after Missouri, at $2.27 per gallon.

Unless something unexpected happens, AAA predicts the low prices to last into 2015.

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