In the first quarter of 2015, Arkansas Taxable Sales Including Gasoline (ATSIG) declined by 1.2%. Compared to the first quarter of 2014, ATSIG was up by only 0.6%. However, much of the decline in overall consumer spending can be attributed to low gasoline prices. Based on data from the Oil Price Information Service, the average price of a gallon of gasoline in Arkansas during the first quarter of the year was only $2.10, down 21.6% from the previous quarter and down 33.9% from a year earlier. Moreover, the number of gallons of gasoline purchased dropped as well: 13.8% lower than a year earlier. Total expenditures on gasoline were down 31.2% for the quarter (seasonally adjusted) and were down 38.7% from the year before.
With a smaller share of household budgets going toward purchases of gasoline, the non-gasoline component of Arkansas Taxable Sales (ATS) surged higher — up by 1.0% from the previous quarter and up 3.9% from the previous year. The non-gasoline measure of taxable sales — based on sales tax collection data from the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration — has increased by 20.4% since the trough of the recession (2009:Q2), reflecting an average annual growth rate of 3.3%.
# # #
Arkansas Taxable Sales (ATS) is calculated by the Institute for Economic Advancement to serve as a timely proxy for Arkansas retail sales. The series is derived from sales and use tax data, adjusting for the relative timing of tax collections and underlying sales, changes in tax laws, and seasonal patterns in the data. Arkansas Taxable Sales Including Gasoline (ATSIG) incorporates data on the state motor fuel tax and gasoline prices from the Oil Price Information Service. A spreadsheet of the monthly and quarterly data is available here: Arkansas Taxable Sales 2015:Q1 (Excel file).