Gas prices are substantially lower than they were a year ago, but according to a new gas-price index released by AAA, about 61 percent of those polled said that prices are too high when gas is above $3.50 per gallon – the current national average for regular gasoline is $3.51 per gallon. Forty-six percent of those polled felt that anything above $3.00 per gallon is too high, but as Robert L. Darbelnet, president and CEO of AAA, points out, prices have been around $3.00 for more than two years so this price is likely the "new normal."

In total, AAA interviewed just over 1,000 adults to find their gas-price breaking point and what they do to offset high prices. According to the study, 86 percent said they would drive less, 54 percent said they would drive a more fuel-efficient car and 33 percent said they would carpool more. Almost half of all those polled who were between the ages of 18 and 34 said they are more willing to cut fuel expenses by using public transportation or working closer to home.

Of course, maybe the answer is just to buy more bicycles like the Italians? Head on over to AAA for the full results of the study.


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  • 198 Comments
      kolahdus
      • 1 Year Ago
      $8,40 is the price I pay in Finland, and it's about the same in whole Europe. Too much? Not if you need to go to work, supermarket etc.. But no v8s or v6s for normal people ;-) And still no roads and bridges fixed.
      Spec
      • 1 Year Ago
      Any price more than $0.98/gallon is "too expensive" and "not fair"! I place the blame on OPEC, Democrats, commodity speculators, greedy big oil, tree-hugger hippies preventing drilling, Chinese, Republicans, the EPA, the Fed, and the people that bought up and buried those patents for a carburetor that made a car get 1300 miles per gallon. That's right . . . it is everyone's fault except MINE! I should be able to drive my 7000 pound V-12 SUV with the air-conditioner and heater on full blast. EagleCryOnFlag.GIF (LOL)
      gfviperman
      • 1 Year Ago
      Under $2.00 is good. Over $2.00 is not good ....
      RocketRed
      • 1 Year Ago
      An econ professor of mine said to watch what people do, rather than listen to what they say. People say the craziest things. Recent data appaer to show that gas price changes do not explain variation in hybrid sale.
        Cayman
        • 1 Year Ago
        @RocketRed
        But could that be explained by the recent increases in conventional ICE efficiency?
      James
      • 1 Year Ago
      The inflation-adjusted price of gasoline has not drastically moved since the inception of the automobile, averaging around $3.00/ US gallon. The lowest price of gasoline, adjusted for inflation, was observed in 1999 at $1.50/gallon. Since then, we have slowly been moving back up and bouncing around the average. There was a huge economic bubble in the later 90s, early 2000s, for a variety of reasons but that was not the norm. I performed a mathematical study several years ago which suggests the "diminishing returns" effect in relation to gas prices and fuel economy. The impetus to move to a vehicle that achieves >50 mpg does not occur financially until gasoline prices are at or around $15/gallon. If you do the math, a 100 mpg vehicle is not noticeably more economical for the average household than a 50 mpg car. Furthermore, going from 30 mpg to 50 mpg is not noticeably better economically. This is aside from any up-front higher costs for a more efficient vehicle, this is only considering a household budget for gasoline.
        TrueDat
        • 1 Year Ago
        @James
        That's what I've been saying for years.. When prices started going up 10 years ago, I couldn't help but notice that it was about damn time. You see, between 1970 and 2000, the price of gas actually fell (adjusted for inflation). I remember in 1997 my dad used to fill his truck with a $20 bill. Gas was cheap then.. it's only just a little expensive now. Overall, gas is right where it should be based on history.
        Letstakeawalk
        • 1 Year Ago
        @James
        This is an older study, from 2008: http://www1.eere.energy.gov/vehiclesandfuels/facts/2008_fotw540.html
      Daekwan
      • 1 Year Ago
      $5 a gallon is the point at which I'd definitely buy a hybrid or electric vehicle. $4 a gallon hurts, but it isnt drastic enough of a change to make trade my SUV. At $4/gal I either drove less or drove more efficiently (less speeding, run my errands together on same day, commute). Chances I'm going to trade my 11.3mpg SUV for something that gets 30+mpg sooner or later. But the longer gas hovers around $3/gal.. the longer I'm going to hold onto my 14 year old dinosaur. The only thing worst than $4/gal gas.. is a new car payment!
        TrueDat
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Daekwan
        "The only thing worst than $4/gal gas.. is a new car payment!" Bingo.. the reality is, you really won't save that much money. I assume your car payment is currently $0? ON a new Hybrid, you'll most likely have a payment of at least $300/month. Will you really save that much in gas? Most people wouldn't...
      Rob
      • 1 Year Ago
      As long as people idle their engines to keep cool or warm, gas is too cheap. It it's too cold I wear a sweater. It it's too warm I open the windows or get out of the car.
      Frazgo Fraz
      • 1 Year Ago
      At $4.50/gallon last fall I started thinking seriously about one, at $4.70/gallon I looked at them. Nearly signed on the dotted line for a Focus EV until I talked with an electrician. To bring a 220V line to my garage required a new service panel and local code requiring underground wire to my detached garage all told carried a price tag of 10K. That put the EV out of range for me. Instead I bought a new Focus gasser knowing the nearly 30K difference between the EV and electrical upgrades will buy a lot of gas even at $5/gallon.
        knightrider_6
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Frazgo Fraz
        You need to find another electrician. For $10K you can put wiring in the whole house.
          raktmn
          • 1 Year Ago
          @knightrider_6
          $5000+ just for ditch-digging? That electrician didn't want the job.
          Frazgo Fraz
          • 1 Year Ago
          @knightrider_6
          The new service panel was only a part of the expense, the biggest chunk was burying the cable 3 feet under to comply with local code.
        Spec
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Frazgo Fraz
        Yes, you need more quotes. It is not that hard to run some wire underground to your garage. I did that at my previous house.
      v6sonoma
      • 1 Year Ago
      It's a pretty simple dynamic. When the price is higher than the lowest price you can remember than it's probably too high in your mind. I remember paying .89 a gallon at one point. That'l never happen in this country again. I think most people would be ok with under $3, but there will always be people that complain. You could give out a free gallon a week to every car and someone would complain "Why only 1 gallon?".
        SloopJohnB
        • 1 Year Ago
        @v6sonoma
        $0.17/gallon regular during a gas war in Texarkana, TX in 1970. I'm sure it was even less expensive at one time.
        Tiberius1701
        • 1 Year Ago
        @v6sonoma
        \"I remember paying .89 a gallon at one point. That\'l (sic) never happen in this country again.\" I don\'t know if I would agree with that, when the house of cards known as Quantatative Easing collapses, .89/gal fuel will seem expensive again. However I do agree that $3.00 is an acceptable number.
      Michael
      • 1 Year Ago
      Consistent prices over $6/gal. would drive many 'average-income' people to reconsider what they drive, how else to get to work, or where they choose to live. But really, too expensive for whom, is a more relevant question. The rich will not be bothered by $5 or even $9/gal. The working poor are hardest hit by fuel prices and are in the worst position to buy a more fuel-miserly vehicle, if public transit is not an option. Public transit simply isn't made the cheapest/most attractive in most urban areas, so the daily mess on the roads not only wastes time, but a ton of fuel. The Single Occupant Vehicle model in cities just doesn't scale. We have 50 ways of doing things in this country and some states actually still prohibit the use of fuel taxes for public transit. When I lived in a German city of 2 million people 20 years ago, a monthly transit pass was around US$20, while a 60 liter/16 gal. tank of fuel was US$60. For people not making a ton of money, an obvious choice. What about this? To let more people experience, perhaps for the 1st time, the cost-savings of public transit, have a large metro area strike a partnership with event promoters to have a day-transit-pass included in the purchase price of a game or concert ticket. What they just saved in parking & fuel can be spent somewhere else.
      MistyGreen
      • 1 Year Ago
      They also thought their local housing market was overpriced, as well as a flight to California, and a gallon of milk over $3 is just outrageous. People are always going to want cheaper everything, but they'll pay for gas no matter what.
      • 1 Year Ago
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