Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Gallup POLL- 67% of US in "Hardship" over Gas Prices

Slight majority report making major lifestyle changes, 67% experiencing hardship

by Lydia Saad

PRINCETON, NJ -- The slight majority of Americans, 53%, say they have responded to today's steep gas prices by making major changes in their personal lives, while 46% say they have not. Sizable proportions of adults of all major income levels have made such changes, including 68% of low-income Americans, 54% of middle-income Americans, and 44% of upper-income Americans.

Lifestyle Impact of Higher Gas Prices on Americans, by Demographic Category, May 2011

Although employed Americans are more likely to report driving an above-average amount -- and are thus greater consumers of gasoline -- they are less likely than non-employed Americans to have made major lifestyle changes to deal with rising gas prices, 49% vs. 58%. This likely reflects the higher average income of employed Americans, but may also indicate they have less flexibility in their lives to cut back on driving.

These findings come from a USA Today/Gallup poll conducted May 12-15, in which 67% of Americans say the recent high gas prices have caused them financial hardship, including 21% who say they have caused them severe hardship. This is among the highest levels of reported hardship Gallup has seen on this measure since 2000, and is similar to the 71% found when average gas prices nationwide topped $4 per gallon in 2008 and the 72% when they first exceeded $3 per gallon in 2005.

2000-2011 Trend: Impact of Recent Gas Price Increases on Personal Finances


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