Before you get too excited over plunging oil prices, consider this…

northern voice-over

When financial markets closed across North America on Tuesday (Jan. 13), the price of crude oil had slumped to $44.20 US per barrel — its lowest mark in approximately a decade. While the commodity has rallied slightly since, the world hasn’t seen oil prices like this since 2004, when a 42-gallon drum of the stuff was going for $36.05.

There are a lot of factors behind oil’s dramatic devaluation: a drop in world demand, increased production by several nations, Saudi Arabia’s desire to maintain market share and curtail the US shale oil boom. But unless you live in an oil-producing state or work in Canada’s oil patch, you probably don’t care. You’re just glad, because it makes for cheap gasoline.

When the per-liter price of vehicle fuel dropped to under a loonie earlier this month, millions of Canadian motorists rejoiced. I was one of them; within minutes, I’d calculated that…

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