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Lower Gas Prices Should Drive Higher Holiday Spending

The recent plunge in oil prices is good news for U.S. consumers. With a barrel of oil moving down from $98 at the start of the year to $75 today, gasoline prices have followed, with the national average hitting $2.89 for the first time since 2010.

This could mean a savings of $400 per household over the course of a year, with average household usage of 1,200 gallons per year. For the holiday season, consumers are expected to save around $8 billion from lower gas costs and much of this will likely be spent. Estimates predict a lift of as much as half a percent to fourth quarter GDP, which would be welcome amidst continued concerns over a slowdown overseas. Over a full year, lower gas could add $70 billion in consumer spending. Though this is small compared to the $11 trillion in overall consumer spending, it could be very beneficial for consumer confidence. Consumer confidence hit a 7 year high last month and could go higher with continued low gas prices. With largely stagnant wages, continued low gas prices could be an important and welcome boost for American households going forward.

11.24.14

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