NACS Consumer Fuels Survey: consumers optimistic about the economy as gas prices fall

ALEXANDRIA, Va., 2017-Oct-12 — /EPR Retail News/ — Consumers have seen gas prices fall after the temporary supply disruptions caused by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma and they say they are more optimistic about the economy, according to the latest national NACS Consumer Fuels Survey.

Americans say that they have seen gas prices fall 9 cents to $2.50 per gallon over the past month, and one in four (24%) expect prices to continue to fall this month, far higher than the number who normally say gas prices will decrease this time of the year. In October 2016, only 11% of Americans said they thought gas prices would decline that month.

This sentiment is particularly strong in the South, the region most impacted by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. A third (34%) of Southern gas purchasers say they believe prices will drop in the next 30 days.

Lower gas prices have boosted consumer optimism over the economy. Consumer optimism shot up seven points to 61% from September’s reading of 54%, the highest level recorded since March 2017. Men are significantly more optimistic than women (68% vs. 56%) but there are no significant differences by age group. Consumer optimism is strongest in the South (64%) and Northeast (64%), and slightly weaker in the Midwest (59%) and West (58%).

Overall, three in four (76%) consumers say that gas prices impact their feelings about the economy and that is particularly true among younger consumers. Nearly nine in 10 Americans (87%) ages 18 to 34 say that gas prices affect their economic confidence. Similarly, the drop in prices also affects their spending: 37% of this age group say they will drive more this month and 24% say they will spend more this month than last month.

“Sales at convenience stores are directly tied to the economy, fuel prices and the weather. The return of consumer confidence is great news as we start the fourth quarter of 2017,” said Jeff Lenard, NACS vice president of strategic industry initiatives.

In preparation for—and in response to—to the hurricane season (defined as June 1 to November 30), NACS continues to work with its partners at the American Red Cross to help collect donations for areas impacted by the hurricanes. NACS also has developed resources to assist retailers and others with disaster recovery and relief.

The survey was conducted online by PSB (Penn Schoen Berland); 1,103 U.S. adults who purchase fuel for a vehicle such as a car, truck or van at least once per month were surveyed October 3-6, 2017. Summary results are available at nacsonline.com/fuelssurvey.

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NACS advances the role of convenience stores as positive economic, social and philanthropic contributors to the communities they serve. The U.S. convenience store industry, with more than 154,000 stores nationwide selling fuel, food and merchandise, serves 160 million customers daily—half of the U.S. population—and has sales that are 10.8% of total U.S. retail and foodservice sales. NACS has 2,100 retailer and 1,750 supplier members from more than 50 countries.

SOURCE: NACS

For media interviews/comments contact Jeff Lenard.

NACS Consumer Fuels Survey: majority of American consumers optimistic about the economy

ALEXANDRIA, VA, 2015-10-14 — /EPR Retail News/ — Lower gas prices have helped increased consumer optimism about the economy, and for the first time since June, a majority of American consumers (53%) are optimistic about the economy, according to the latest Consumer Fuels Survey results released by the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS).

Consumer optimism surged five percentage points from 48% in September, the largest monthly increase in optimism since April. Consumers ages 18-34 were most optimistic (63%); regionally, consumers in the West were most optimistic (60%).

In part, the rise in optimism is fueled by consumer’s perceptions of falling gas prices. Over half of U.S. consumers (54%) say that gas prices are lower than they were the previous month. Consumers in the Northeast (67%), South (58%), and West (58%) were more likely to say gas prices have declined, compared with just over one in three consumers in the Midwest (35%).

Nearly three in ten (28%) U.S. consumers say they have seen gas stations in their area selling regular gasoline for less than $2.00 per gallon, including a majority of consumers from the South (51%).

However, consumers are not necessarily expecting prices to fall even lower over the next month; only 19% of consumers think that gas prices will be lower in 30 days than they are currently. That’s the lowest percentage of Americans who expect falling prices since July.

What about the possibility of sub-$2 gas? Only one in five drivers (19%) who have yet to see gas priced under $2.00 per gallon expect to see that price by Thanksgiving.

“With 77% of consumers saying that gas prices impact their feelings about the economy, it’s clear that recent price declines have increased overall consumer optimism,” said NACS Vice President of Strategic Industry Initiatives Jeff Lenard. “However, consumers are also expressing reservations about further price declines, so it remains to be seen how long this optimism will hold.”

NACS, which represents the convenience store industry that sells 80% of the gas sold in the country, conducts the monthly consumer sentiment survey to gauge how gas prices affect broader economic trends. The NACS survey was conducted online by Penn Schoen Berland; 1,200 gas consumers nationally were surveyed October 6-9, 2015. Summary results are available at www.nacsonline.com/gasprices.

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Founded in 1961 as the National Association of Convenience Stores, NACS (nacsonline.com) is the international association for convenience and fuel retailing. The U.S. convenience store industry, with more than 152,700 stores across the country, posted $696.1 billion in total sales in 2014, of which $482.6 billion were motor fuels sales. NACS has 2,100 retail and 1,600 supplier member companies, which do business in nearly 50 countries.

SOURCE: NACS

NACS Consumer Fuels Survey: lower gas prices have not significantly altered consumer behavior or attitudes about the state of the economy

​ALEXANDRIA, VA, 2015-9-16 — /EPR Retail News/ — While two in three American drivers (67%) report that gas prices are falling, lower gas prices have not significantly altered consumer behavior or attitudes about the state of the economy, according to the latest Consumer Fuels Survey results released by the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS).

Although drivers report that the national median gas price fell 25 cents per gallon in the past month and 60 cents per gallon since July, only 22% of consumers say that they will drive more over the coming month and only 15% say that they will spend more on other non-fuels items in the coming month.

Declining gas prices also have not yet increased consumer optimism about the economy. Less than half of all consumers (48%) are optimistic about the economy, a one-point drop from the previous month.

Consumers ages 18 to 34 are the most optimistic about the economy and most likely to translate that optimism into spending.  A majority of these younger consumers (57%) are optimistic, and more than one in three (37%) intend to drive more over the coming month. Nearly one in four (23%) say that they will spend more money shopping this month.

Consumers also expect gas prices to continue their slide. More than one in four (28%) say that they expect gas prices to fall this month, the highest percentage expecting further price drops since January 2015.

Nearly 9 in 10 consumers (89%) say that low gasoline prices are good for the economy. But they remain concerned about broader economic issues, such as the recent stock market decline. More than 4 in 10 consumers (41%) say that the recent stock market decline has had an impact on their financial situation.

“Consumers are wary about the economy and even declining gas prices don’t overcome concerns about the wild swings in the stock market,” said NACS Vice President of Strategic Industry Initiatives Jeff Lenard. “The survey results show that many Americans do not think lower gas prices have delivered meaningful economic relief to their families.”

NACS, which represents the convenience store industry that sells 80% of the gas sold in the country, conducts the monthly consumer sentiment survey to gauge how gas prices affect broader economic trends. The NACS survey was conducted online by Penn Schoen Berland; 1,106 gas consumers nationally were surveyed September 8-12, 2015. Summary results are available at www.nacsonline.com/gasprices.

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Founded in 1961 as the National Association of Convenience Stores, NACS (nacsonline.com) is the international association for convenience and fuel retailing. The U.S. convenience store industry, with more than 152,700 stores across the country, posted $696.1 billion in total sales in 2014, of which $482.6 billion were motor fuels sales. NACS has 2,100 retail and 1,600 supplier member companies, which do business in nearly 50 countries.

NACS Consumer Fuels Survey: More consumers think that gas prices will be lower in the next 30 days rather than higher

ALEXANDRIA, VA, 2014-12-17 — /EPR Retail News/ — The recent decline in fuel prices has resonated with consumers, 80% of whom report that gas prices are lower than they were 30 days ago and, for the first time in two years, more consumers think that gas prices will be lower in the next 30 days (30%) rather than higher (27%), according to the latest NACS Consumer Fuels Survey.

The lower prices have not had an appreciable effect on consumers’ feelings about the economy in general, however. Consistent with the prior three months, 47% of consumers are “somewhat” or “very” optimistic about the eco​nomy. Meanwhile, 77% of consumers said that gas prices are having a “great” or “some” impact on their feelings about the economy, which is the lowest percentage recorded in two years. Gas prices continue to have a greater impact on those 18-34 years of age, 88% of whom said that prices affected their feelings about the economy.

Consumers report that the average price of regular gasoline where they live is $2.70, which is 95 cents per gallon lower than the average consumer-reported price in July and marks the fourth consecutive month in which the reported price has decreased.

Lower prices also affected consumers expected expenditures in the upcoming month, with 24% saying that they will spend more than they did last month, up from 21% in November and 15% in October. Consistent with the degree to which gas prices affect their feelings about the economy, consumers ages 18–34 seem buoyed by the lower fuel price, with one-third expecting to spend more in the upcoming month.

Lower fuel prices could have a negative effect on the short-term prospects for alternative fuel vehicles and other fuel-saving measures often employed by consumers. For the first time in a year, the gas price at which consumers would try to reduce how much they drive was more than $1.00 higher than the price they are paying now and the price at which they would seek an alternative to driving neared $2.00 above current prices. This indicates that consumers are less prone to consider alternative methods of travel due to lower fuel prices.

NACS, which represents the convenience store industry that sells 80% of the gas sold in the country, conducts the monthly consumer sentiment survey to gauge how gas prices affect broader economic trends. The National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) survey was conducted by Penn, Schoen and Berland Associates LLC; 1,110 gas consumers were surveyed Dec. 9-11, 2014. Summary results are at www.nacsonline.com/gasprices.

GAS PRICES AND ECONOMIC OPTIMISM
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Founded in 1961 as the National Association of Convenience Stores, NACS (nacsonline.com) is the international association for convenience and fuel retailing. The U.S. convenience store industry, with more than 151,000 stores across the country, posted $696 billion in total sales in 2013, of which $491 billion were motor fuels sales. NACS has 2,100 retail and 1,600 supplier member companies, which do business in nearly 50 countries.