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Consumer optimism down in May

Hydrocarbon Engineering,

Rising gas prices during the annual spring transition to summer blend fuels has driven down US consumer optimism in regards to the economy.

According to the latest monthly National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) Consumer Fuels Survey, 41% of consumers say that they are optimistic about the economy, 44% less than a month ago. Lingering bad weather across much of the country and a 14 cent/gal. increase in gas prices are among the factors that are likely to be driving down consumer confidence.

86% of consumers say that gas prices affect their feelings about the economy, and nearly 79% have noticed that gas prices have increased over the past 30 days. This is the highest percentage since March 2013. 66% of consumers say that prices will increase over the next 30 days, the highest percentage that has said so since NACS initiated monthly consumer surveys in January 2013.

Consumers feel that their purchasing power at the pump is decreasing. Self reported miles per dollar were down in May, dropping 5.7% to 6.32 miles/US$, or 15 cents/mile on average.

The survey additionally revealed that strong demographic variations exist in how consumers feel about the economy. 51% of younger consumer (aged 18 – 34) are positive about the economy, however only 34% of those over 50 are optimistic in regards to the economy.

However, NACS holds that there are some positive signs. Gas prices have been decreasing over the past 10 days and warm weather is finally spreading across much of the country.

Adapted from a press release by Emma McAleavey.

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