Gas prices hurt more than health care, Americans say

February 14, 2019

Americans consider fuel prices more important than their health care budget, results of a new study from GasBuddy revealed Tuesday.

In fact, Americans would prefer a free fill-up to finding $20 on the street, or even having their meal paid for. The study looked at a small sample of 1,016 Americans that covered all age brackets and income levels; the results were conclusive. About 86 percent of respondents said they rely on gasoline in their everyday lives and budgeting for fuel is more important than health care and a savings account/emergency fund. Americans only said housing/rent, groceries, and utilities were more important than buying gas.

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In 2018, the country spent $388 billion on gasoline, and 57 percent of respondents said budgeting for fuel is a major frustration. Of the group, 65 percent said gasoline prices hurt their ability to spend money on other items. The effect was largely felt on those aged 18-24. A quarter of the respondents said they fill their cars up with gas four times per month, while 20 percent more said fill-ups happen more than five times per month.

The study also revealed a few other interesting pieces of information. A whopping 50 percent of the group said gas prices help them judge the overall state of the U.S. economy and 40 percent said prices at the pump affect their daily mood. The majority of respondents (63 percent) also said they believe gas prices are too high today.

READ MORE: Study: Driving habits tied not to pump prices but to percentage change

Americans largely favor electronic payment methods to buy gas today. The study showed 44 percent use debit cards, and credit cars were a close second at 38 percent. Just 14 percent of those surveyed said they use cash. However, adding debit cards and cash payments creates a majority technically using cash as he or she did not charge a fill-up to credit.

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