More than half of American motorists say they’re using savings at the gas pump to pay down debt or put toward savings, according to a survey by the National Association of Convenience Stores.
Thirty-three percent of motorists say they saving the money they would have devoted to high gas prices a few years ago while 21 percent say they are paying on debt, the survey found.
The majority of drivers — 38 percent or nearly four in 10 — said they are using the money on day-to-day essentials.
Despite an uptick of 40 cents or more over the past few months, gas prices are substantially lower than their historic highs, which reached near $4 a gallon in spring 2011, according to GasBuddy.com figures. The average price right now in Atlanta is about $2.10 a gallon (metro gas prices peaked at $2.80 last year).
About 6 percent of motorists were spending the savings from the lower gas prices on “special things I wouldn’t otherwise buy,” the NACS study found. Another 2 percent said they were spending the savings on “something else.”