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How Consumers React to Gas Prices

With nearly 40 million Americans filling up their vehicles every day, their reaction to gas prices has a profound impact on convenience stores.
May 10, 2018

​ALEXANDRIA, Va. – According to AAA data, the national gas price average is nearly 49 cents higher than this time last year. And with crude oil setting new highs for the year at $69 bbl, how U.S. consumers drive and consider gas prices into their budgets has a profound impact on the retail channel that sells nearly 80% of the fuel purchased in the United States.

To help explain current market conditions, NACS recently developed new resources. The latest research publication, “How Consumers React to Gas Prices,” found that:

1. Consumers who are driving more are doing so because of a job or longer commute (those driving less are doing so because of gas prices)

2. Price dominates where consumers choose to purchase fuel but that characteristic is falling (from 71% in 2015 to 58% in 2018)

3. The quality of food and employees is increasingly influencing where consumers shop for fuel

4. 45% of gas customers come inside the store (a beverage is the top purchase)

The report’s charts and graphics highlight customer preferences compared to previous years, which can help assess how consumers may react if oil prices continue to climb.

NACS recently published “What Consumers Think About Gas Prices,” examining how gas prices affect overall consumer spending and consumer sentiment about the economy.

Also, NACS released a new fuels-specific podcast this week that examines what is predictable and unpredictable in the fuels market heading into the summer-drive season, and there is even more fuels-related information at the Fuels Resource Center.​