How much is “too much” to pay for a gallon of gas? A new survey by AAA hopes to give an updated answer.
Average gas prices are above $3 and have remained there for 28 consecutive months.
“It was not long ago that motorists were shocked to pay more than $3 per gallon for gasoline, but now that is standard at stations nationwide,” said AAA president and CEO Robert L. Darbelnet.
It’s possible that could have changed now, as consumers might have adjusted to the higher prices. The survey AAA conducted counted 974 respondents and asked “at what price do you start to consider the cost of gasoline too high? Please tell me the price per gallon to the nearest 10 cents.”
The result? At $3 per gallon, 46 percent said it was too expensive, while that number shot up to 61 percent and 90 percent at $3.50 and $4. That raises another question: how do consumers react to those higher prices?
Past studies showed that even at $4 per gallon, people are reluctant to change vehicles. Instead, the AAA survey shows that 86 percent of people just drive less while 71 percent don’t shop and dine out as often.
Fewer people’s behavior changed as the reactions became more extreme. For example, 53 percent said they delayed major purchases, but only 15 percent resorted to public transportation.
The reactions also varied by age group. Younger respondents were more inclined to work closer to home and to use public transit.