Gas Prices Went Down But Where Did the Money Go?

Contributed by: Angela Palacios, CFP® Angela Palacios

After oil and thus gas prices sharply declined late in 2014, many were expecting consumers to run right out and spend what they’d saved.  What has surpised everyone is that isn’t happening.  The chart below shows the direct correlation between the decrease in what consumers are spending at the pump (the light blue line) and the increase in their savings account dollars (the dark blue line).  As consumers are spending less, they are saving more.

There are a number of reasons contributing to these increased savings rather than spending:

  • Most did not expect the temporary reprieve in gas prices to last
  • Prices of many other goods are perceived to be increasing
  • People are starting to recognize the importance of having a few months of living expenses set aside in the bank as a safety cushion

While all of these are probably contributing factors causing this “savings” to not be spent, I would hope the main reason for the pattern is the last bullet point -- people recognizing the importance of having some money set aside for a rainy day!

Angela Palacios, CFP® is the Portfolio Manager at Center for Financial Planning, Inc. Angela specializes in Investment and Macro economic research. She is a frequent contributor to Money Centered as well asinvestment updates at The Center.

This material is being provided for information purposes only and is not a complete description, nor is it a recommendation. Any opinions are those of Angela Palacios, CFP® and not necessarily those of Raymond James. The information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but Raymond James does not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete.