The good times may soon be over at the gas pump, as economists expect prices to continue rebounding this year from the record lows Americans have recently enjoyed.
Gas prices currently average $2.43 per gallon, according to AAA. That’s a 13 percent increase over last week, but it’s still more than a dollar less than gas prices at this time last year.
The months-long valley in gas prices, however, has already served drivers well. The drop in prices at the gas pump has saved consumers an average of $108 per month, according to the latest Wells Fargo/Gallup Investor and Retirement Optimism Survey.
More than two-thirds of investors surveyed said that the low gas prices have helped their household budget, with 37 percent using the savings to pay down bills and a third saving it. The survey found that investor optimism surged in February to the highest level since 2007.
“Renewed confidence, combined with savings from reduced gas prices, is leading individuals to either increase household savings or pay down debt – helpful strategies that can generate a greater sense of control,” Wells Fargo Institutional Retirement and Trust Director Joe Ready said in a statement. “Whether it’s paying down debt or putting some money aside for retirement, it is a positive sign that Americans are improving their balance sheet.”
Nearly 60 percent of investors think that this is a good time to invest in financial markets, and more than half have seen a noticeable increase in their retirement account values.
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