• 2 hours EIA Weekly Inventory Data Due Wednesday, Despite Govt. Shutdown
  • 6 hours Oklahoma Rig Explodes, Leaving Five Missing
  • 8 hours Lloyd’s Sees No Room For Coal In New Investment Strategy
  • 11 hours Gunmen Kidnap Nigerian Oil Workers In Oil-Rich Delta Area
  • 13 hours Libya’s NOC Restarts Oil Fields
  • 14 hours US Orion To Develop Gas Field In Iraq
  • 3 days U.S. On Track To Unseat Saudi Arabia As No.2 Oil Producer In the World
  • 3 days Senior Interior Dept. Official Says Florida Still On Trump’s Draft Drilling Plan
  • 3 days Schlumberger Optimistic In 2018 For Oilfield Services Businesses
  • 3 days Only 1/3 Of Oil Patch Jobs To Return To Canada After Downturn Ends
  • 3 days Statoil, YPF Finalize Joint Vaca Muerta Development Deal
  • 4 days TransCanada Boasts Long-Term Commitments For Keystone XL
  • 4 days Nigeria Files Suit Against JP Morgan Over Oil Field Sale
  • 4 days Chinese Oil Ships Found Violating UN Sanctions On North Korea
  • 4 days Oil Slick From Iranian Tanker Explosion Is Now The Size Of Paris
  • 4 days Nigeria Approves Petroleum Industry Bill After 17 Long Years
  • 4 days Venezuelan Output Drops To 28-Year Low In 2017
  • 4 days OPEC Revises Up Non-OPEC Production Estimates For 2018
  • 5 days Iraq Ready To Sign Deal With BP For Kirkuk Fields
  • 5 days Kinder Morgan Delays Trans Mountain Launch Again
  • 5 days Shell Inks Another Solar Deal
  • 5 days API Reports Seventh Large Crude Draw In Seven Weeks
  • 5 days Maduro’s Advisors Recommend Selling Petro At Steep 60% Discount
  • 5 days EIA: Shale Oil Output To Rise By 1.8 Million Bpd Through Q1 2019
  • 5 days IEA: Don’t Expect Much Oil From Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Before 2030
  • 5 days Minister Says Norway Must Prepare For Arctic Oil Race With Russia
  • 5 days Eight Years Late—UK Hinkley Point C To Be In Service By 2025
  • 6 days Sunk Iranian Oil Tanker Leave Behind Two Slicks
  • 6 days Saudi Arabia Shuns UBS, BofA As Aramco IPO Coordinators
  • 6 days WCS-WTI Spread Narrows As Exports-By-Rail Pick Up
  • 6 days Norway Grants Record 75 New Offshore Exploration Leases
  • 6 days China’s Growing Appetite For Renewables
  • 6 days Chevron To Resume Drilling In Kurdistan
  • 6 days India Boosts Oil, Gas Resource Estimate Ahead Of Bidding Round
  • 7 days India’s Reliance Boosts Export Refinery Capacity By 30%
  • 7 days Nigeria Among Worst Performers In Electricity Supply
  • 7 days ELN Attacks Another Colombian Pipeline As Ceasefire Ceases
  • 7 days Shell Buys 43.8% Stake In Silicon Ranch Solar
  • 7 days Saudis To Award Nuclear Power Contracts In December
  • 7 days Shell Approves Its First North Sea Oil Project In Six Years
Alt Text

New Importers Keep LNG Markets Tight

While increased LNG demand from…

Alt Text

Gas Wars: The First Energy Conflict In 2018

Territorial disputes over newly discovered…

Alt Text

Will 1 Billion EVs Crash Gasoline Demand?

Electric vehicle sales are picking…

How Do Consumers Respond To Lower Gasoline Prices?

How Do Consumers Respond To Lower Gasoline Prices?

U.S. gasoline prices averaged $3.31 a gallon over December 2013 to February 2014 but only $2.31 a gallon over December 2014 to February 2015. How did consumers respond to this windfall in their spending power? A new study by the JP Morgan Chase Institute has come up with some interesting answers.

Rather than trying to draw conclusions from imperfect aggregate or survey data, the Chase study is based on the anonymized credit or debit card transactions of 25 million individuals over these two periods of high versus low gasoline prices. They found huge differences across individuals in terms of how important gasoline is for their budget. A typical household was spending $101 a month on gasoline back when gas prices were high. For the highest-spending quintile, that number was $359/month, whereas for the lowest quintile it was only $2/month. And spending on gasoline is a much bigger fraction of the budget for lower income households. Related: Can Tesla Deliver A Self-Driving Electric Car Before 2020?

SpendingOnGasoline

Spending on gasoline by different income quintiles and age groups (total dollars and as a percent of percent of income). Source: JP Morgan Chase Institute.

PercentOfGasolineSavings

Increase in purchasing power from gasoline saving for different income groups. Source: JP Morgan Chase Institute.

I and others have tried to infer the effects of lower gasoline prices on consumer spending by looking at aggregate consumption spending. But, using their detailed data set, the Chase researchers were able to come up with a more satisfying answer. The basic idea is to compare how much spending on other items changed between the high gas price and low gas price periods for those who had been spending a large amount on gasoline with those who had been spending a low amount on gasoline. Economists refer to this as inference based on difference in differences. The Chase researchers found 73 cents in extra spending on other items for every dollar saved at the gasoline pump. Restaurants and groceries were the two biggest areas where spending was observed to increase. Related: Macroeconomic Instability For Emerging Markets Thanks To Commodity Bust

PercentOfGaslineSavingsSpent

Percent of gasoline saving spent on other categories. Source: JP Morgan Chase Institute(Click Image To Enlarge)

One limitation of the data set is that most car purchases are not done with credit cards. We know from the aggregate data that increased car purchases are a big component of the consumer response to lower gasoline prices. Thus the total extra spending is likely to be significantly higher than the 73 percent measured directly.

The evidence thus is that consumers were indeed responding to the most recent price declines the same way they usually did, namely, by spending most of the windfall. The fact that we don’t see this as clearly in the aggregate data suggests that the economy has been facing other headwinds that partly offset the stimulus from lower gasoline prices.

Another consumer response to lower gasoline prices is increased consumption of gasoline itself, though these adjustments take more time to develop. U.S. vehicle miles traveled, which had been stagnant while gas prices were high, have since resumed their historical growth.

U.S.VehicleMiles

Source: Calculated Risk. (Click Image To Enlarge) Related: Shedding Some Light On U.S. Energy Consumption

And the average fuel efficiency of new vehicles sold in the United States, which had been improving steadily through most of 2014, has fallen with oil prices.

FuelEfficiencyAverage

Source: University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute.

By James Hamilton

More Top Reads From Oilprice.com:




Back to homepage


Leave a comment

Leave a comment




Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News