Prices at the Pump Not Worrying Consumers

Consumer optimism rises as drivers say gas prices would have to skyrocket to make them drive less.

One way to check the mood of Americans is to ask how they feel about gas prices and that’s just what the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) does each month.

Their January survey of more than 1,100 consumers revealed only 43 percent are optimistic about the economy, but more than half believe gas prices will be the same or lower in the next 30 days. That’s the highest level of optimism since July 2013.

That’s important because 83 percent of consumers have said gas prices impact their feelings about the economy. Other interesting findings…

  • On average, drivers say prices would have to reach $4.04 a gallon before they would cut back driving.
  • A record-low of 7 percent predict gas prices will be much higher in the next 30 days.
  • For only the third time in the past 12 months, a rise in gas prices did not lead to a rise in pessimism about the overall economy.

But the experts at Consolidated Credit believe consumers should be wary of how gas prices impact their finances. Even if you can afford a car’s monthly payments, gas costs can tank your budget.

So while cars give us a sense of independence, the trend toward owning huge SUVs is troubling because it can have such a negative budget impact. These vehicles often get terrible gas mileageso although you can lease one for a sweet deal, it may still be bad news for your household’s finances. Don’t forget to budget for gas and do everything you can to cut car costs.

If you need tips on how to improve your gas mileage so you can cut back on your monthly auto expenses, Consolidated Credit offers a helpful guide to Cutting Car Costs.