Gas prices continue to drag economy


The price of a gallon of gas has started to trend down, but a new survey says it is still siphoning consumer cash out of the economy as a whole. However, despite that, consumers are seeing cause for optimism.

The report comes from, which says the effect of gas prices is to cause 59% of US consumers to cut back on non-essential spending.

“Despite the fact that oil prices are currently near six-month lows, consumers are still clearly feeling the impact of elevated gas prices in an environment of stagnant wages,” said Greg McBride, CFA,’s senior financial analyst.

That said, Bankrate’s May 2012 Financial Security Index was said to have broken the 100 mark for the first time ever (in a survey first taken December 2010). Bankrate said that indicates a positive gain over sentiment expressed in May 2011.

The FSI is comprised of five categories, and four of them improved. Consumers felt better about security, debt, net worth and overall financial situation. The one negative area was savings – consumers wish they have more socked away than is the case.