Consumer pessimism related to gas prices and the economy remains high, but did not increase in March, according to the results from the most recent NACS Consumer Fuels Survey. Because convenience stores sell 80% of the gasoline purchased in the country, NACS conducts monthly surveys of gasoline customers to gauge their feelings related to gas prices, other fuels-related issues, and the economy.
While 59% of U.S. consumers once again indicated they are “very” or “somewhat” pessimistic about the economy, the percentage saying they are “very pessimistic” about the economy seems to have peaked: Only 20% of consumers said that they were very pessimistic, compared to 23% the month prior. Pessimism about the economy remains highest in the West, with 27% of consumers saying that they were “very pessimistic.”
It is clear that gas prices are top of mind with consumers. More than nine of 10 consumers (91%) say gas prices have an impact on their feelings about the economy, and nearly half of all consumers (47%) say gas prices have a “great impact” on how they feel about the economy. Both numbers are new highs since the first NACS survey conducted in January 2013.
Meanwhile, it’s possible that consumers may also feel that the worst is over. Sixty percent of consumers say gas prices will be higher in the coming 30 days, a decrease from the 62% recorded in the previous two months. (NACS: www.nacsonline.com)