U.S. Economy Getting Stimulus by the Gallon

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U.S. Economy Getting Stimulus by the Gallon


NEW YORK -- As gas prices continue to drop, gas stations may be helping the U.S. economy more than the federal government.

After reaching nearly $4 a gallon in early April, prices at the pump have decreased about 40 cents, or 10 percent. With U.S. drivers expected to use about 133 billion gallons of gasoline this year, that 40-cent price break works out to about $53 billion in annual savings if it were to stay in place for a full year, according to CNN Money.

"Just as an increase in gas prices is essentially a tax on consumers, a decrease in prices acts as a tax cut," Brett Ryan, economist with Deutsche Bank, told the news outlet.

The most recent retail sales report estimated that motorists spent approximately $1 billion less at gas stations in May than they did in April, with all signs pointing to that trend continuing in June. The lower gas prices were enough to cause a decrease in overall retail prices paid by consumers in May compared to April, the first such decline in two years, CNN Money reported.

"A drop in gasoline prices obviously helps with consumer finances," said Bernard Baumohl of the Economic Outlook Group in Princeton, N.J. "However, even with the drop in gasoline prices, consumers don't seem as much in a spending mood as they were earlier this year."