Rising Gas Prices Bring Spending Trade-Offs - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Rising Gas Prices Bring Spending Trade-Offs

KHQ.COM - Gasoline prices are staying at their highest levels in more than two years. And analysts say that's causing Americans to start watching their spending more carefully.

According to AAA and other pump-watchers, the national average for a gallon of regular is now at $3.10. It's about 12 cents more than a month ago, and 35 cents more than a year ago.

There are signs that consumers are skipping a dinner out or a movie because they have to spend more to drive. Diane Swonk, the chief economist at Mesirow Financial, says she thinks gasoline
prices are affecting the spending habits of more than half of U.S. drivers. She says she noticed consumers starting to make trade-offs in November and December.

One analyst says for every penny the price at the pump increases, it costs consumers overall an additional $4 million.

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