The chart above displays the monthly CPI series for "Utility (piped) gas service" back to 2000 (the series equals 100 in 1983), and shows the significant benefits of the shale gas revolution for American consumers. Despite a slight uptick in June, the CPI measure of the price consumers pay for natural gas last month was the lowest since February 2003, more than nine years ago. And compared to the peak index level four years ago in the summer of 2008 of almost 300, the price index for natural gas today is almost 50% lower at 161 in June.
Consumers might be paying higher prices this year for some food items, medical services, college tuition and textbooks, clothing and other goods and services, but one of the consumers' best friends is natural gas, thanks to the abundance of shale gas and the resulting falling prices. Just like advances in technology have dramatically lowered the price of electronic goods, computers and software, and cell phone services, so has technology (fracking and horizontal drilling) lowered the price of natural gas for American consumers and businesses. Result? Those technology-driven falling prices have significantly raised our standard of living.