(NEW YORK) -- Following the Obama administration's announcement Thursday that it will be releasing 30 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, oil prices tumbled by almost $4 a barrel.
But how exactly will this decision impact consumers?
Drivers have been battling high gas prices in recent months due to unrest in the Middle East and North Africa. But analysts say tapping into the emergency oil reserves may lower prices at the pump.
Joel Naroff, an economist, says consumers could see gas prices go down to close to $3 a gallon. And if so, that could mean some relief not only for Americans, but also for the country's economy.
"The decline in oil and the resultant decline in gasoline prices could help consumers," Naroff says. "It's going to put more money in their pockets. They're going to spend a little bit more."
Still, it may take a while for consumer psychology to improve. The economy is fragile and the jobs and housing markets remain weak.
Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio