$5.50 for a gallon of gas?

August 3rd, 2006

Gas Price Rise Alters Spending Habits
From Reuters
August 2, 2006 —

Rising gasoline prices have prompted 77% of Americans to change their spending habits, according to a Boston Consulting Group survey released Tuesday.

“The results point to new patterns of spending: American consumers are educated, savvy and careful with their money. They know how to find good deals and have shifted spending to accommodate the latest round of oil shocks,” said Michael Silverstein, a Boston Consulting Group senior vice president, in a statement accompanying the results of the survey.

It found that 76% of U.S. consumers believed gas prices would rise over the coming months, with nearly half believing gas would hit $5.50 a gallon.

Eighty-two percent of those surveyed said they were determined to find quality products at the lowest possible price when they needed something new for themselves.

According to the survey, 50% of Americans have scaled back on spending habits, while 59% have delayed a purchase of an item they consider not absolutely necessary.

“Americans have become more like 'purchasing agents' — professional procurers who know how to develop spending strategies to adapt to the times, maintain living standards and save money,” Silverstein said.

Half of those polled said they were holding back from making impulse purchases, while 46% said they sought recommendations from family and friends on good deals.

The government last week said consumer spending softened in the second quarter, with a decrease in spending on costly items such as cars. Consumer spending fuels about two-thirds of economic activity.

The survey was conducted via random telephone calls July 6 to 9 to 1,020 adults. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

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