When Gas Prices Change Your Life

It’s no secret that Americans love complaining about gas prices, but what is the actual tipping point?  

According to a Gallup poll, gas prices between $5.30 and $5.35 per gallon would make people cut back on spending in other areas or make significant changes in the way they live.  

Responses from the poll varied, with 14% to 17% of Americans saying a price of less than $4 per gallon would be high enough to cause them to change their lifestyle or cut back on spending elsewhere. Another 28% each say a price point in the $4 range would cause these changes.  

The overall average “tipping point” of roughly $5.30 suggests there is room for a substantial increase in gas prices before Americans say prices will have serious consequences on their spending and lifestyle patterns. 

A gallon of regular gas jumped in price over the past several months to an average of $3.76 on March 8 from an average below $3.35 in November, according to the AAA Daily Fuel Gauge report.  

Gallup conducted the interviews March 5 and 6. The two questions about the implications of the rising price of gas on spending and lifestyle changes were asked of two separate random split samples of about 500 respondents each.