Jane Van Ryan
Posted September 16, 2009
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke yesterday proclaimed that the recession appears to be ending. He based his comments in part on new data showing that consumer spending in August hit its highest level in three years.
According to the Commerce Department, consumers increased their spending by 2.7 percent last month. Although a portion of this rise was attributed to the Cash for Clunkers program, spending still rose a respectable 0.7 percent after stripping out expenditures for cars and gasoline.
API's Monthly Statistical Report on overall petroleum deliveries (a measure of demand) contains some similar hopeful news. Although petroleum deliveries last month continued to decline, they slowed at the lowest rate in a year and a half. And while fuel and heating oil demand fell lower, August gasoline deliveries rose, marking the third consecutive monthly increase.
API Statistics Manager Ron Planting said, "While lessening economic gloom is likely one factor behind the slight rebound in petroleum demand, lower retail prices may have also played a role, particularly for gasoline."
Retail gasoline prices were about 35 percent lower in August than in the same month a year ago.
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