Consumers Poured Gas Savings into Eliminating Debt and Paying Bills, According to Survey from American Consumer Credit Counseling

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Seasonal windfall at the gas pump helped Americans save; most avoided extra spending.

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Most consumers are able to pay for gas using cash or debit cards, and are not resorting to credit cards to make the purchase increasing their available cash to pay off debt and other household bills

American consumers took advantage of plummeting gas prices over the past six months by using their savings to eliminate debt and setting aside extra cash, according to a new survey by American Consumer Credit Counseling. Nearly 70 percent of those polled online by ACCC either used their gas pump savings to pay off debt, pay bills and expenses or increase their savings.

Just 3 percent of those surveyed at ConsumerCredit.com said they made new purchases with the extra money. And a large majority – 66 percent – said they are unlikely to plan major road trips or vacations just because the price of gasoline has fallen.

The online poll of 119 budget-conscious consumers was conducted by American Consumer Credit Counseling - a national non-profit that helps consumers with budgeting and debt management – at ConsumerCredit.com.

“The savings people are experiencing from the lower cost of gasoline is a bonafide windfall,” said Steve Trumble, President and CEO of American Consumer Credit Counseling. “Many are saving as much as $20 every time they fill up. And well more than half are saving at least $10.”

The ACCC survey found that 17 percent of those polled actually reported saving between $20 and $30 every time they fill up, versus the same period last year. Nine percent said they are saving $30 to $40, while a full 65 percent said they are saving at least $10 with each fill-up.

“It’s good to see that so many consumers are being smart about using the extra money they have,” Trumble added. “Applying a significant portion of any new source of available cash to eliminating debt and increasing savings is a good step toward financial health.”

Gas prices also drove consumers to be more aware of fuel efficiency. A huge group of respondents, 88 percent, regard fuel efficiency as a significant factor in purchasing a car, with 30 percent of them having purchased a fuel-efficient car while gas was expensive. Further demonstrating the importance of fuel savings to consumers, an Edmunds.com study, found that 79 percent of respondents said fuel efficiency is more important than safety, body type or even price when purchasing a car.

“Most consumers are able to pay for gas using cash or debit cards, and are not resorting to credit cards to make the purchase increasing their available cash to pay off debt and other household bills,” Trumble said.

ACCC’s survey found that 66 percent of consumers use debit as their payment method for gas, while 18 percent use cash and only 16 percent use a credit card.

ACCC is a 501(c)3 organization that provides free credit counseling, bankruptcy counseling, and housing counseling to consumers nationwide in need of financial literacy education and money management. For more information, contact ACCC:

  •     For credit counseling, call 800-769-3571
  •     For bankruptcy counseling, call 866-826-6924
  •     For housing counseling, call 866-826-7180
  •     Or visit us online at ConsumerCredit.com

About American Consumer Credit Counseling
American Consumer Credit Counseling (ACCC) is a nonprofit credit counseling 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to empowering consumers to achieve financial management and debt relief through education, credit counseling, and debt management solutions. Each month, ACCC invites consumers to participate in a poll focused on personal finance issues. The results are conveyed in the form of infographics that act as tools to educate the community on everyday personal finance issues and problems. By learning more about financial management topics such as credit and debt management, consumers are empowered to make the best possible financial decisions to reach debt relief. As one of the nation’s leading providers of personal finance education and credit counseling services, ACCC’s certified credit advisors work with consumers to help determine the best possible debt solutions for them. ACCC holds an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and is a member of the Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies. To participate in this month’s poll, visit ConsumerCredit.com and for more financial management resources visit TalkingCentsBlog.com.

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Tony Catinella
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