American consumers will drive less this year and will look to make fewer shopping trips due to the high gasoline prices and high inflation rates, Target Corporation’s chief executive Brian Cornell said this weekend.
“Some of the historical ways consumers react to inflation will play out again in 2022,” Cornell said during the National Retail Federation’s Big Show in New York on Sunday, as carried by Bloomberg.
“You’ll drive fewer miles, you’ll consolidate the number of times and locations where you shop,” Cornell added.
Gasoline prices in the United States continue to hold high at a national average of $3.31 per gallon of regular gasoline as of January 17, per AAA data, despite the apparent drop in demand in recent weeks. The current average compares with $2.385/gallon average a year ago.
In addition, inflation in the U.S. in 2021 hit the highest in 40 years, after consumer prices for all items rose by 7.0 percent from December 2020 to December 2021, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said last week. This was the largest December to December percent change since 1981. Gasoline prices were up 49.6 percent after falling 15.2 percent in 2020—the largest increase in 2021 in all selected items, the data showed.
Energy prices as a whole rose by 29.3 percent non-seasonally adjusted from December 2020 to December 2021, the statistics found.
The high gasoline prices and the inflation will likely change consumer behavior regarding shopping trips, which could be fewer and consolidated in order to save on gasoline, according to Target’s top executive.
AAA data shows that the national average gasoline prices in January have increased from December, despite the lower demand.
“Typically, pump prices decline due to lower gas demand and a rise in total stocks, but continued growth in the price of crude oil has helped to elevate pump prices. As crude prices continue to climb, pump prices will likely follow suit,” AAA said last week.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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