U.S. consumer spending slipped in December, as the pace of motor vehicle sales slowed and more Americans saved their money.

The Commerce Department says consumer spending fell 0.3 percent in December, compared to a 0.5 percent increase in November. Cheaper gas and fewer auto sales accounted for most of the decline.

Personal income rose 0.3 percent in December, aided by the steady wave of hiring over the past year. But rather than spend those gains, consumers saved 4.9 percent of their disposable income, up from 4.3 percent in November.

Consumer spending accounts for about 70 percent of economic activity. Over the final three months of 2013, consumer spending climbed a solid 4.3 percent, contributing to an overall annualized economic growth rate of 2.6 percent, the government reported last week.