Are Rising Gas Prices Hurting Consumer Confidence?

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Gas prices have been rising over the past few weeks. National average for gasoline price is now ~$3.54 a gallon, up 18 cents from a week back (biggest weekly spike in two years).

Last year, average US households paid about 4% of income before taxes for gasoline, highest percentage in three decades (except 2008--when it was at a similar level).  

Gasoline prices are affected by rising crude prices and disruptions in gasoline supply. Oil prices have gone up more than 10% in the last two months as global economy recovers. On the other hand, gasoline supply has been hurt by the disruptions caused in the northeast by Superstorm Sandy and closures of some refineries.

Rising gas prices may not have yet hurt the economic recovery but if they continue to rise, they may pose potentially serious threat to consumer spending and economic recovery in the months ahead. (Read: Pump Profits with this Gasoline ETF)

Do you think that gas prices have already started hurting consumer confidence?

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