The domestic oil boom has had a down side....if you can call it that.  It is a lot harder to drive around and find cheap gas prices.


  1200 WOAI news reports that the 'spread' between the most expensive gas in San Antonio and the cheapest non promotional gas prices is down to about 40 cents.  It averages as much as 80 cents and occasionally has been even more than that.


  That means that those traditionally 'expensive' stations don't seem quite as expensive, and you may get roughly the same price going there if that is the station near your home or route to work as you might have gotten driving to that 'cheap' station on the other side of town.


  Patrick DeHaan, a senior petroleum analyst for Gas Buddy.Com says that is due to the fact that the flood of U.S. produced crude has 'smoothed out' the spikes that used to appear in wholesale gas prices.


  "When there is volatility, when wholesale prices are moving much more, then you have more of a spread out in prices, because station owners, depending on their timing, are paying a far different price," he said.


  DeHaan says that volatility in crude oil prices has been largely eliminated by the domestic oil boom.


  "This spring has seen much more stability in prices, which means what you pay today may be exactly like what you pay tomorrow," he said.


  The U.S. oil boom has also protected us from gas spikes caused by violence in oil producing nations and the seemingly constant bellicose threats of 'comic book' dictators in places like Iran.


  For example, Libya, which is an OPEC member, has seen it's oil output cut almost to zero by domestic violence and Venezuela, another OPEC nation, is almost in a state of revolution.  But Americans know and care very little about these events because, unlike in past years when we would have seen soaring gas prices, they have not had any impact on what we pay at the pump.