U.S. consumers were dealt a flurry of sluggish economic data Tuesday, both hard and anecdotal, suggesting that a tangible recovery might not be on the horizon.
For starters, a Gallup Poll for June revealed that two-thirds of respondents (67%) say escalating gas prices are causing moderate to severe financial hardship in their own households.
That’s up a staggering 15 percentage points from an April survey featuring a similar question.
More than 60% of respondents said they are driving less this summer because of higher prices, a higher percentage than in previous years of significant gas price increases — namely 2000, 2001, 2004, 2005 and 2018.
Second, Gallup’s Economic Confidence Index — a summary of participants’ ratings of current economic conditions and outlook — has tumbled 13 points from last month to minus 58.
The index ranges from 100, if all respondents describe the economy positively, to minus 100, if all respondents describe the economy negatively.
The ECI’s current score has reportedly reached its lowest point since February 2009, when the country was in a recession.
Third, in the past month, citing ECI history, the percentage of Americans surveyed calling the economy “poor” jumped 8 points to 54%, and the percentage of those asserting the economy’s “getting worse” rose 7 points to 85%.
Finally, the average national price of regular unleaded gasoline stands at $4.88 per gallon, according to AAA.
The high averages run similar to numbers produced from GasBuddy.com, which tracks fuel prices worldwide.
Right now, 11 states have average gas prices exceeding $5.00 per gallon — Michigan ($5.01), Utah, ($5.17), Idaho ($5.21), Arizona ($5.28), Illinois ($5.44), Washington ($5.48), Oregon ($5.49), Hawaii ($5.54), Nevada ($5.56), Alaska ($5.58) and California ($6.31).
Last week, President Joe Biden endorsed Congress enacting a three-month federal gas tax holiday in an effort to foster more summer travel.
The proposal, however, has failed to generate enthusiastic support from many members of Congress — including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
Biden also called on states to temporarily lift their respective gas taxes.
The Gallup survey sampled 1,015 U.S. adults June 1-20 and had a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.