ALEXANDRIA, Va. – U.S. consumers are feeling better about the economy following three consecutive months of increasing pessimism, according to the latest monthly NACS Consumer Fuels Survey, which examines how gas prices affect consumer sentiment. Overall, consumers are feeling more optimistic now than they have since August, which is a good sign for retailers that want to end 2013 on a positive note through strong holiday sales.
The recent decline in gas prices is prompting optimism about gas prices in the near future, according to NACS, the Association for Convenience & Fuel Retailing. For the second straight month, a majority of consumers (58 percent) believe gas prices will be lower 30 days from now. Only 43 percent believe gas prices will be higher, which is a sharp drop from July, when a year-high 64 percent said they expected gas prices to increase.
"Changes in gas prices clearly play a critical role in affecting consumer sentiment," said NACS’ Vice President of Government Relations John Eichberger. "Gas prices have decreased more than 35 cents per gallon in the past three months, and we are happy to see that positive news at the pump is having a great impact on consumer optimism."
NACS’ national consumer survey was conducted Nov. 5-6, when data from the Oil Price Information Service showed the weekly national average price for a gallon of gas was $3.265. More than 800 consumers took part in the November survey.