Sally Hamilton is a business professor with Drexel University in Sacramento. She points out that back in June gas prices were approaching $5.00 a gallon. Since then prices have dropped by nearly half and Hamilton says that amounts to about a $500 per-family refund.
"It's like you're standing in front of the shopping center right before Christmas handing people $500 bills," says Hamilton.
She predicts both big box retailers and small businesses will see more consumer demand this holiday season. She says they'll also see a drop in some of their costs.
"Because they'll be paying less for shipping product in," says Hamilton. "So I think those two things together should combine to make the overall shopping results for the year a little bit better than the roughly 3 percent the Retail Federation was telling us we were probably going to see."
Hamilton says the flip side to lower gas prices is that small oil exploration companies will likely lose money and possibly be taken over by bigger companies.