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JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Is cheap oil bad for the economy?

"For the first time since 2004, U.S. drivers are expected to pay an average of less than $2 a gallon for regular grade gasoline this year." That headline from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) is the sort that economists once upon a time would have welcomed as a slam-dunk for future growth. It used to be that when consumers paid less at the pumps, they would spend their windfalls as if they had just won on a weekly scratch-off ticket.

But something strange has occurred since the last recession: Americans have discovered their parsimonious sides. Last year, the average household saved $660 at the pump, but instead of buying a bunch of other stuff with that...