Average gas price predicted to drop below $3 a gallon

The average price of gasoline will be below $3 a gallon in 2015, the Energy Department predicted Wednesday. If the sharply lower estimate holds true, U.S. consumers will save $61 billion on gas compared with this year.

Economists say lower gasoline prices act like a tax cut, leaving more money for consumers to spend.

The department’s Energy Information Administration predicted in its most recent short-term energy outlook that drivers will pay $2.94 per gallon on average in 2015, 45 cents lower than this year.

Based on expected gasoline consumption, that’s a savings of $60.9 billion.

Drivers are now paying $2.92 per gallon on average across the nation, according to AAA, but late fall is often when the price of gas hits its low for the year. The EIA is now saying that these prices aren’t just a low point, but instead will be the norm next year.

GM to fix faulty power window switches in SUVs

For the owners of 189,000 General Motors SUVs, the days of parking them outside the garage for fear that they could catch fire will soon come to an end.

The company, in documents posted Wednesday by U.S. safety regulators, said it will start notifying customers this week that they can take their SUVs to dealers, who will replace faulty power window switches.

The recall of SUVs, mostly from the 2006 and 2007 model years, was announced June 30, but it took more than four months to get replacement parts ready. It covers the Chevrolet TrailBlazer, GMC Envoy, Buick Rainier, Isuzu Ascender and Saab 97-X, mainly in North America.

News of bank fines pulls major indexes lower

Big banks weighed on the stock market Wednesday, tugging major indexes back from record highs.

Regulators from the U.S., Switzerland and the U.K. fined five major banks a total of $3.4 billion for conspiring to manipulate foreign-currency trading. The news drove down bank stocks in Europe and U.S. JPMorgan Chase fell more than 1 percent, the biggest drop in the Dow Jones industrial average.

– From news service reports