Gas Fuels US Retail Sales, Up 0.2% in March

Inflation may also be factor as spending remains flat otherwise
By Sam Gale Rosen,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 14, 2008 10:25 AM CDT
A worker empties gasoline into a tank at a gas station, Friday, April 11, 2008, in Beachwood, Ohio.    (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
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(Newser) – US retail purchases rose in March by 0.2%, pushed up by higher prices at the gasoline pump, Bloomberg reports. Purchases excluding gasoline were unchanged, and consumer spending is still on its way down, causing investors to think that the Federal Reserve might again look to cut interest rates—despite worries about rising inflation.

"If you're getting an inflationary increase in gasoline and food, that would mask the true weakness in consumer spending," one economist said. "This is consistent with recessionary conditions."