According to a study 40mpg released yesterday, those 72 percent think prices will get to $3.50 this summer, and 28 percent think it'll reach $4 a gallon. What's the reason for the increase? People think (well, 82 percent of survey respondents anyway) that there's a lot of price gouging going on (I wonder why).
You can read the details after the break, but worries about high gas prices mean people are expecting they'll cut back on spending or summer travel plans. 29 percent say they will be more likely to buy a hybrid or fuel-efficient vehicle if we get to $3.50 gas (The survey takers interviewed over 1,000 adults over 18 in the continental US between April 19 and 22, MOE is 3 percentage points. It was sponsored by 40mpg, the Civil Society Institute, and Hybrid Owners of America).
Obviously, these are just people's opinions, and none of this means that gas prices are actually going to climb another 50 cents or more (or that price gouging is the reason prices are climbing). They might, though, and it seems people are resigned to that happening. So if the price gougers are reading, your victims are ready.
[Source: Civil Society Institute and 40MPG.org, Newton, MA]
CSI/40MPG.org Survey: $3.50 Gas Expected This Summer by About 3 Out of 4 Americans, Half Will Cut Travel and Spending In Response
Mounting Frustration Evident: 83% See Price Gouging, 77% Say Not Enough Federal Action, 67% Want Higher MPG Standard Now, 77% Back Oil Windfall Profits Tax.
WASHINGTON, May 2 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Nearly three out of four Americans (72 percent) expect gasoline prices to reach $3.50 a gallon this summer and just over one in four (28 percent) foresee prices at $4 a gallon in the next few months, according to a major new Opinion Research Corporation (ORC) survey conducted for the nonprofit Civil Society Institute (CSI) think tank and its 40MPG.org project. More than four out of five Americans (83 percent) already think that there is price gouging going on at the gas pump today.
In response to the increasing pain at the pump, about half of Americans say they will "definitely" or "probably" cut back on personal spending (51 percent) and summer or end-of-year holiday travel (46 percent) if gasoline reaches $3.50 a gallon this summer. Nearly three in 10 (29 percent) Americans say they are more likely to buy a hybrid or other highly fuel-efficient car if gasoline hits $3.50 a gallon.
Other key findings of the CSI/40MPG.org survey:
- More than three out of four Americans (77 percent) believe the federal government is not doing enough about the high cost of energy and this country's dependence on Middle Eastern oil. Nearly two thirds of Republicans (64 percent) think the government isn't doing enough compared to 79 percent of Independents and 88 percent of Democrats.
- More than two thirds of Americans (67 percent) say that recent gas price increases make it more important that the Federal government take steps to increase the fuel-efficiency standards in this country. There is strong support across party lines for such action, including 61 percent of Republicans, 65 percent of Independents and 75 percent of Democrats.
- There is considerable public support for a windfall profits tax on oil companies if the revenue is used to research alternative energy (77 percent).
Opinion Research Corporation Senior Research Associate Graham Hueber said: "What we see in these findings is a real consensus view among American consumers that gas prices are already too high and that they are going to reach even more painfully high levels this summer. The findings about expected cuts in summer and end-of-year travel plans, as well as the expectation of reductions in general consumer spending, must be viewed with real concern. Clearly, the idea that Americans are just going to accept higher gasoline prices with no real reaction does not appear to be well founded."
Other key findings of the CSI/40MPG.org survey include the following:
- Higher fuel prices would hit those with lower incomes the hardest. About three-fifths (61 percent) of those in households with less than $25,000 in income say they will definitely or probably have to cut back on personal spending if gasoline hits $3.50 a gallon, compared to about half (51 percent) of all households).
- Women (88 percent) are more likely then men (77 percent) to perceive such price gouging at the gas pump. The overall level of 83 percent of Americans seeing gas price gouging is roughly the same as in September 2005 (86 percent) when CSI/40MPG.org asked the same question during a time of escalating gasoline prices and calls for a windfall profits tax on oil company profits.
- More than two-thirds of Americans (67 percent) say that recent gas price increases make it more important that the Federal government take steps to increase the fuel-efficiency standards in this country. Only 22 percent say that price hikes have had no impact on the need for such action and fewer than one in 10 (9 percent) say it is now less important that the government take action. There is strong support across party lines for such action, including 61 percent of Republicans, 65 percent of Independents and 75 percent of Democrats.
- Over half of Americans (54 percent) would support raising the taxes on gasoline sales if that revenue would be used for research into alternative fuels. This idea is more popular with women (58 percent) than it is with men (50 percent). The idea of earmarking a portion of existing federal income taxes for research into alternative fuels is a wildly popular idea among those age 18-24 (74 percent).
- More than three out of four Americans (78 percent) say they support using some of the money collected in the Federal Highway Trust Fund from taxes on gasoline sales, to investigate alternative energy sources.
- Two-thirds of Americans are either more likely (35 percent) or just as likely (31 percent) to buy a hybrid, clean-diesel or other highly fuel efficient car as they were six months ago. Less than a third (31 percent) say they are less likely to make such a purchase.
The new CSI/40MPG.org survey was conducted by Opinion Research Corporation among a sample of 1,013 adults (504 men and 509 women) aged 18 and over living in private households in the Continental United States. Interviewing for this survey was completed during the period of April 19-22, 2007.
The other survey mentioned here also was conducted by ORC and involved 1,019 adults (507 men and 512 women) aged 18 and over living in private households in the Continental United States. Interviewing for the earlier survey was completed during the period of September 15-18, 2005. Both surveys were weighted by four variables: age, sex, geographic region and race to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the total population. The margin of error for both surveys at the 95 percent confidence level is plus or minus 3 percentage points. Smaller sub-groups in either survey will have larger error margins.
ABOUT CSI AND 40MPG.ORG
The nonprofit and nonpartisan Civil Society Institute (http://www.civilsocietyinstitute.org/) is a think tank that serves as a catalyst for change by creating problem-solving interactions among people, and between communities, government and business that can help to improve society. CSI has conducted more than 15 major surveys since 2003 on energy and auto issues, including vehicle fuel-efficiency standards, consumer demand for hybrids/other highly-fuel efficient vehicles, global warming and renewable energy. CSI is the parent organization of 40MPG.org (http://www.40mpg.org/) and the Hybrid Owners of America (http://www.hybridownersofamerica.org/).
[Source: Civil Society Institute and 40MPG.org, Newton, MA]