Advertisement
Find a Car
Go!

Gas Prices Going Down, But They've Changed Our Lifestyle

Follow Bengt

Gas prices might no longer be on the way up—at least for a little while—but it appears that this time, surging pump prices, combined with the persisting economic conditions, have meant that U.S. families are feeling it more sorely than before.

A new Gallup Poll found that Americans are still a little shell-shocked by what became, for a while, the $4-a-gallon reality. Fifty-three percent of Americans report that they have made major changes in their personal lives to accommodate steep gas prices. And by now, nearly three quarters say that they've made major changes of some sort to accommodate the higher prices.

In response, nearly a third of Americans are driving less. But they're also cutting back on vacation travel, even if they're higher-income families—a trend that's been especially worrisome for the tourism industry and other sectors of the economy.

Particularly of concern for those worried about the psychological blow of gas prices is that about two thirds of Americans say that gas prices have caused them financial hardship. Gallup has been asking that question for years, and it's the among the highest figure it's seen since it started asking the question in 2000—only surpassed in 2005, when gas prices first passed the $3 mark and in 2008 when they surged past $4 a gallon.

Are there less-painful solutions, like keeping speed down?

Yet many families might be underestimating the impact of some less painful strategies. In the poll, while 12 percent reported less leisure driving, only one percent reported driving less aggressively or keeping speed down to save money on gas—a change that may prove financially significant if kept up over a year.

On a national level, gas prices appear to have peaked. According to the federal government's Energy Information Administration (EIA), the price of a gallon of regular gas was already about a half-cent lower than the week before. And it appears that in recent days, prices have been falling more rapidly; according to GasBuddy.com, average U.S. pump prices stand at about $3.89 a gallon, about seven cents a gallon lower than a week ago.

The latest results are part of a joint USA Today/Gallup poll conducted May 12-15—after they'd leveled off in most regions—from a random sample of 1,024 adults in all 50 U.S. states plus the District of Columbia. Confidence is plus or minus four percentage points.

Even wealthier households traveling less

Curiously, Gallup found, this urge to cut back on driving (and spending) isn't just limited to the lowest-income families; it spans a wide range of income levels. Even in the $75,000 and up household income range, 44 percent reported having changed their habits because of higher gas prices.

Gallup does note, however, that the type of economizing that families have done is different, depending on income level. Lower-income Americans are more likely to report "significant hardships" that involve household expenses, while middle- and upper-income households are simply driving less for vacations and errands.

There are also some pronounced differences between how men and women are dealing with gas prices. Men and women in about an equal percentage said that they were driving less, but men were nearly twice as likely to say they purchased or planned to purchase a more fuel efficient car and women were about twice as likely to say that they've cut back on household expenses.

[Gallup]

 
Follow Us

 

Have an opinion?

  • Posting indicates you have read this site's Privacy Policy and Terms of Use
  • Notify me when there are more comments
Comments (5)
  1. It is amazing how people are so happy that gas is down a half-cent over last week when recently we had 7 cent upwards movement in a single day. The best way to show these gas companies that America is sick of the rising prices is to drive less, lowering demand and pinching their profits. Gas companies are profiting in the billions, our government is giving them subsidies and our families are suffering hardships because the costs are affecting our household finances. Where is the logic in any of that?
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

  2. I agree people are driving less, but just didn't see the panic selling of SUVs and big pick-ups that accompanied the first $4 a gallon scare a couple of years ago. I think people get used to a price point and are actually thanksful to trend back toward a leveml they would've freaked out about not that long ago. Bottom line is the rich will get richer!
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

  3. I know, half a penny down, it's $3.99 and people are happy again :-) Gas is cheap again - yay! Next stop $4.99 in a few months... Can't wait for my LEAF... I even signed for that crappy electric from Mitsubishi in 2013 :-) F-em, all of them...
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

  4. My car takes premium so I will take any savings I can get. Diesel sound like good alternatives. I dont know if I am ready for the switch to electric just yet. The technology needs to be refined for me to jump on that boat.
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

  5. Now that these oil companies have all this money they should be repairing the refineries now. While the demand is low and don't pull that crap on us like you did in the 80's&90's.
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

 

Have an opinion? Join the conversation!

Advertisement
Advertisement
Take Us With You!
   
Advertisement

More From High Gear Media


 
 
© 2014 The Car Connection. All Rights Reserved. The Car Connection is published by High Gear Media. Stock photography by Homestar, LLC. Send us feedback.