Weekly Feature

2017-03-30 / Business

Ahead of summer, Americans say gas prices are too high

A new AAA survey reveals that nearly a quarter of consumers believe the price at the pump is already too high. AAA projects the national average for a gallon of gasoline to increase 40 cents this summer, peaking near $2.70. 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.

• Carpooling.

However, not everyone will jump to make a change. The survey found that Americans age 18 to 34 are more tolerant of higher prices and less likely to change habits compared to consumers 35 and older.

“Higher gas prices are already influencing the travel industry,” said Carol DiOrio, AAA Western and Central New York vice president of travel. “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, however, 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 which, when combined, consists of 1,017 adults including 510 men and 507 women. Interviewing for this survey was completed on February 2 through 5. Approximately 517 interviews were from the landline sample and 500 interviews from the cell phone sample.

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