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What's the real cost of cheap gas? Political expert provides insight

OPEC and allied oil-producing countries have cut oil supplies to the world as prices fall. Experts say within the next week, gas prices may go up by 10 to 20 cents.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Residents on the road Monday certainly noticed those lower gas prices. Many people took advantage, but what does cheaper gas really mean?

OPEC and allied oil-producing countries including Russia have cut oil supplies to the world as prices fall. The decision cuts supplies to the global economy by 100 thousand barrels per day.

For consumers like Bret Wenzel, the lower cost of gas is a relief.

"Man, it's getting close to what it was before," Wenzel said.

And for travelers like Doneka Williams, seeing gas below three dollars is a shock.

"We are from Houston Texas, we are just visiting," Williams said. "We love to find the cheapest gas. So when we saw the gas was $2.95 that was the best price we've seen so far."

Travis Braidwood, Associate professor of political science at Texas A&M University-Kingsville, said within seven days consumers may not be so happy.

"Within the week, we're probably gonna see oil prices per barrel jump pretty dramatically," Braidwood said. "And then that'll translate to increased per gallon cost on gas stations."

So why the coming rise in cost? It's because OPEC is cutting down oil production.

"OPEC is saying, the amount of money that we have here, it can be tremendously more, we're gonna start reducing that production," Braidwood said. "And so now what we're seeing is that decline basically return to some of these pre, you know, pre boom era in slashing net production to increase their bottom line."

But how much of an increase will there be at the gas pump?

Professor of economics at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, Dr. Jim Lee said the cost will increase soon, but not by much.

"Gas prices may go up by 10 to 20 cents in the next week or two," Lee said. "But you know, it's not a major concern, because, as I said, you know, we buy into inflation for just about everything."

Braidwood said there's nothing consumers can do to lower or hike up the cost of gas. 

"There's not a whole lot consumers can do other than change their driving habits, you could fuel up now if you want," Braidwood said. "But of course, that's only a short term solution."

But like all good things, they must come to an end.

"We're not talking about back to four dollars, within a month, but the gas prices will likely go up briefly in the next week or two, because the decrease of OPEC production," Braidwood said.

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