BOSTON — U.S. consumers spent $388 billion on gasoline in 2018—an average of 34 million fill-ups a day, according to mobile app GasBuddy’s recent analysis of consumer sentiments toward gasoline. GasBuddy also found that consumers consider gasoline the fourth-most important household expenditure—behind groceries, rent and utilities—outpacing healthcare and emergency funds.
- Click here to read GasBuddy’s foot-traffic takeaways for 2018.
“Gas prices are extremely volatile and hard to predict, making it difficult to budget for,” said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy. “Yet it is a major necessity for millions of Americans. In 2018, we collectively spent $49 billion more on gasoline than 2017. People, no matter their age, gender or socioeconomic background, are not only frustrated by how much they pay but the options they have in how to pay.”
Boston-based GasBuddy’s 2019 Consumer Sentiment on Gasoline Study examined more than 1,000 consumer responses to its January 2019 gasoline survey. The survey included consumers of all age groups and income brackets.
Here are six insights from GasBuddy’s 2019 Consumer Sentiment on Gasoline Study …
2. Debit cards are king
Nearly half (44%) of consumers pay for gas with a debit card, the highest of any payment option, surpassing credit cards and cash at 38% and 14%, respectively.
“Not everyone qualifies for the types of credit cards that provide rewards on gas,” said DeHaan. “The fact that a majority (58%) of people are still paying with debit cards and cash is a sign there is a need for a payment option that addresses savings and convenience for the greater public.”
3. Budgeting is a hassle
About two-fifths (57%) of consumers said gas is frustrating to budget for, and nearly 40% said gas prices affect their mood. When given the choice, consumers said they’d rather receive a free fill-up than find a $20 bill on the street or get their dinner bill paid for, according to the study.
It appears there’s a misconception of how gas prices have fluctuated in recent years. Despite gas prices being at their lowest since July 2017, 63% of consumers still said prices are too high, according to the study.