Will Consumer Optimism Push Fuel Consumption Upward?

Thanksgiving traffic expected to grow this year.

With consumer confidence hitting new heights, more drivers may be hitting the roads this holiday season.

In fact, a record 93% of Americans say they will be driving the same or more this month, and they anticipate spending more over the same time period, according to the latest NACS Consumer Fuels Survey.

Thanksgiving traffic could be heavy, as a record 93% of American drivers say they will be driving the same or more over the next 30 days. And they also will be shopping this month. Nearly three in four consumers (72%) say they will spend the same or more this upcoming month in stores, led by 79% of Americans age 50+ as well as 77% of those in the Midwest.

NACS, which represents the convenience store industry that sells an estimated 80% of the fuel sold in the United States, has conducted monthly surveys related to economic issues since January 2013.

Consumer confidence regarding the economy is also very high; a record 61% of consumers say they are optimistic about the economy, the same percentage as the month prior and up 11 percentage points compared to November 2015. Consumer optimism is highest in the Northeast (65%) and South (62%), though a solid majority of consumers in the Midwest (59%) and West (57%) report feeling optimistic.

Prices at the pump continue to drive consumer optimism, with three in four (75%) saying that gas prices affect their views of the economy.

“Steady gas prices and high levels of economic optimism are great signs for convenience stores heading into the holidays. Convenience stores expect strong sales for fuel, food and drinks from now through the end of the year,” said Jeff Lenard, NACS vice president of strategic industry initiatives.

The survey was conducted online by PSB (Penn Schoen Berland); 1,100 U.S. adults who purchase fuel for a vehicle such as a car, truck or van at least once per month were surveyed Nov. 8-10, 2017.

 

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