NEW YORK — Though rising gas prices put a damper on consumer sentiment in March, Americans are no longer shocked by $4 gasoline.
The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan's preliminary reading on the overall index on consumer sentiment slipped to 74.3 from 75.3 in February, contrary to economists' forecasts for a gain to 76.0.
Despite this dip, consumers are confident the employment situation will improve.
"Overall, the data indicate that $4 gasoline has lost its shock value, although the drain on discretionary income will still affect spending, mostly among lower-income households," survey director Richard Curtin said in a statement.
"If gasoline prices approach $5 per gallon, however, a widespread and substantial impact is likely."