A major drop in gasoline prices in the last 3 to 4 months has allowed many consumers around the country to start putting more money in savings and also pay down their debt, according to a new survey from Wells Fargo/Gallup.
The survey, which talked to just over 1000 consumers and investors, showed that on average they’re saving $108 every month. That’s between consumer’s still in the workforce who are saving approximately $117 a month and retirees saving about $68 a month. For the survey, an investor was defined as an adult with more than $10,000 in both savings and investments.
What the survey showed was that, due to gas prices that are lower than they’ve been in nearly 6 years, approximately 7 out of every 10 consumers in the US are using the money that they’re saving at the pumps to improve their financial situation by either investing the money, putting it in savings or paying down their debt.
That breaks down to approximately 37% who are using the savings to pay off debt, 33% who are putting it into some side of savings plan and approximately 25% that are simply using the extra money to make additional purchases. Nearly 30% responded that the extra money they are saving on gas is helping them “a lot” with their household budget.
Analysts see this as great news because it means that, rather than wasting the extra money that they’re saving on frivolous or nonessential items, the majority of American consumers are doing something positive with that money instead. Gas prices have risen slightly over the last few weeks but, on average, are still about 35% less than they were at the same time last year and lower than they have been in the last five years.