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First on CNN: Record Gas Prices Are Depressing Americans’ Spending, According to JPMorgan

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Gas prices soar again in the US 1:16 (CNN) — Rising prices at gas stations may be forcing Americans to cut back on other spending. In a report shared first with CNN, JPMorgan analyzed the spending behavior of Chase cards and estimated that the 20% increase in gasoline prices since the start of the war in Ukraine caused a decrease in spending in other areas. at $9.6 billion a month. “Despite the savings glut, high gasoline prices appear to weigh on real consumption,” JPMorgan US economist Peter McCrory wrote in the report. The bank found that the impact of high gasoline prices on consumer spending takes time to accumulate, and that the effect is not clearly evident until two to three months after the gasoline price hike. “This means that growth in real consumer spending may be uneven in the coming months,” JPMorgan said. Consumer spending is the central engine of the US economy. The problem is that gasoline is an essential purchase for many Americans. Demand at gas stations does not typically decrease with rising prices, at least initially, according to JPMoran. But this means that some families are forced to cut back on other expenses to make ends meet and avoid dipping into savings or going into debt. According to JPMorgan estimates, each additional dollar spent on gasoline after a price increase reduces non-gas consumption by $1.60. After three straight days of record highs, the national average for regular gasoline fell a cent to $4.43 a gallon on Friday, according to AAA. It is still 15 cents more than a week ago and $1.40 more than a year ago. Prices at gas stations were already high in early February, when the Russian invasion of Ukraine pushed them up even higher. The war and sanctions have put pressure on energy supplies from Russia, the world’s biggest oil exporter. But the high prices are not affected equally throughout the country. JPMorgan said high gasoline prices impose a “greater hardship” on families who are less able to adjust their consumption. Chase card data shows that consumers in Arkansas and Missouri have increased their spending at gas stations the most since February, while those in Connecticut, Massachusetts and New York have increased the least.

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