A new AAA survey reveals that nearly a quarter of consumers believe the price at the pump is already too high. Price averages are already above $3 a gallon in Southern California and possibly poised to go even higher in coming months, while AAA projects the national average for a gallon of gasoline will increase by 40 cents this summer. To offset the increase in gas prices (about a 70 cent increase from last year at this time), more than 70 percent of consumers say they would make everyday lifestyle or driving habit changes. The top five changes drivers would make include:
- Combining errands or trips
- Driving less
- Reducing shopping or dining out
- Delaying major purchases
However, not everyone will jump to make a change. The survey found that younger Americans (18-34) are more tolerant of higher prices and less likely to change habits compared to older consumers (35 and older).
“Higher gas prices are already influencing the travel industry,” said Bill Sutherland, AAA senior vice president of Travel and Publishing. “The good news is people are still planning to hit the road. With nearly 80 percent of family travelers planning a road trip this year, higher gas prices are making shorter trips to national parks and theme parks the most desired travel destinations.”
During April, Americans across the country will start to see gas prices begin to climb as the industry wraps up spring maintenance and completes the switchover to summer-blend gasoline. Over the years, public opinion for whether a gallon of gasoline is too high or too low has fluctuated as much as the price itself.
- When gas prices are above the $3.00 benchmark (as they were in 2013 and 2014), Americans believe prices should be six percent lower.
- When gas prices are below the $3.00 benchmark (as they were in 2015 and 2016), Americans believe a 25 percent increase is too high.
This report presents the findings of a telephone survey conducted among two national probability samples (landline only and cell phone), which, when combined, consists of 1,017 adults, 510 men and 507 women, 18 years of age and older, living in the continental United States. Interviewing for this survey was completed on February 2-5, 2017. 517 interviews were from the landline sample and 500 interviews from the cell phone sample. This study has an average statistical error of ±3.1 percent at the 95 percent confidence level for all U.S. adults.