New survey finds 59 percent of Americans will make changes as gas reaches record highs

Staff Report

The national average for a gallon of gas rocketed up to $4.31 and Louisiana's average reached $4, as of March 10.

New survey data from AAA finds that some two-thirds of Americans felt gas prices were too expensive just a few weeks ago at $3.53 per gallon.

The national average spiked to an all-time high of more than $4, causing many Americans to reach a tipping point.

More than 59 percent said they would make changes to their driving habits or lifestyle if the cost of gas rose to $4 per gallon, AAA reported.

Motorists buy fuel on March 9 at a Costco in Visalia, California.

If gas were to reach $5, which it has in locations along the West Coast, three-quarters said they would need to adjust their lives to offset the pump prices.

Among Americans who said they would make changes in response to higher gas prices, 80 percent said they would opt to drive less, with some differences among age groups:

  • 18 to 34 year-olds are almost three times as likely as those 35 and over to consider carpooling (29 percent vs. 11 percent), which would likely involve major changes to their daily travel plans.
  • Those 35 and over are more likely to favor combining tips and errands (68 percent vs. 52 percent) and to reduce shopping or dining out (53 percent vs. 43 percent).

While many Americans may adapt their daily habits to make up for higher gas prices, it likely won’t have as much of an impact on summer travel.

AAA’s survey found that 52 percent of Americans have plans to take a vacation this summer. Of those, 42 percent said they would not consider changing their travel plans regardless of the price of gas.