Gasoline Prices Could Bail the Government Out

Gasoline Prices Could Bail the Government Out

This segment is from Tuesday's edition of Digging for Value, where sector analysts Joel South and Taylor Muckerman discuss energy and materials news with host Alison Southwick. The weekly show can be viewed on Tuesdays and Thursdays. It can also be found on Twitter, along with our extended coverage of the energy and materials sectors @TMFEnergy.

Living in the Washington, D.C., metro area, the talk surrounding the government shutdown has permeated everyday life. According to reports, this shutdown could drain the economy of nearly $1.6 billion in consumer spending for each week that it drags on. With consumer spending in the retail sector waning for the past couple of quarters, this could've been sour news for companies like Nordstrom , which has already issued lower guidance for the remainder of 2013.

Thankfully, gasoline prices might just pull a role reversal and actually help the average consumer in the United States. Data from the Energy Information Agency show that gasoline prices were elevated near $3.90 per gallon at this time last year. Counter that with current AAA calculations that gasoline now costs less per gallon than milk, coming in at $3.39. While this is all well and good for the majority of Americans, investors in refineries like Valero and Phillips 66 might be in trouble, though not as lengthy of a timeout as those invested in HollyFrontier and CVR Refining . Find out why below.

Refiners are pinched by high oil prices and low gasoline prices. But who can benefit?
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Joel South and Taylor Muckerman have no position in any stocks mentioned, and neither does The Motley Fool. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Originally published