By  Thu May 19, 2011

Rising Oil Prices Force Drastic Lifestyle Changes Upon U.S. Consumers

While summer vacations will continue to be a popular warm weather activity despite rising fuel prices, a majority of U.S. consumers say the rising gas prices have cramped their lifestyles in a number of other ways, new poll results released by Gallup revealed.

A majority of U.S. consumers—53% to be exact—have said they’ve been forced to significantly change aspects of their lifestyle as a result of gas prices, which reached just under $4 per gallon on average as of this Monday.

While all major income brackets reported having had to make significant lifestyle changes due to rising gas prices, more lower-income Americans had indicated they’d made major changes then both middle- and high-income earners. Unemployed adults were more likely than those with a job to have made major lifestyle changes because of gas prices (58% versus 49%), which is likely because working Americans are more likely have less flexibility in how much driving they’re able to cut back on.

Americans Drive Less, Invest In Fuel Efficient Vehicles To Save:

So, exactly what changes are U.S. consumers doing to keep up with rising fuel prices? The number one answer given was simply driving less, with nearly a third of consumers (32%) giving that answer.

Below are some other ways consumers have changed their financial habits in light of rising fuel prices:

Changes Made by Consumers Due to Gas Prices (Source: Gallup)

Major Change Percent of Consumers
Drive Less/Stay at Home 32%
Less Travel/Vacations 16%
Getting a more fuel efficient car 15%
More practical about errands/trips 15%
Less leisure driving 12%
Cut back on other expenses 12%
Carpool 8%
Change employer/school 6%
Use public transportation 4%
Walk more 3%
Use a bike 3%
Cut back on energy usage 2%
Driving slower/less aggressively 1%
Move to more convenient location 1%
Other 6%
No opinion 1%

Traveling less and reducing the number of vacations taken—the second most common way consumers plan to reduce fuel costs—stood in fairly stark contrast to poll results released by Gallup earlier this week that suggested a large majority of Americans prioritized their summer vacations and were prepared to spend more to make sure they took one, but could also simply mean consumers are reducing vacations during other times of the year.

Information released by the Air Transportation Association also painted a different picture then Gallup’s most recent data, suggesting instead that summer air travel would also climb despite rising fuel costs because the average domestic airline ticket price has remained virtually unchanged since 2000.

Read: Vacations: The New Non-Discretionary Expense

The third most common response–investing in fuel-efficient cars–appears to have been substantiated last month, as a New York Daily News reported earlier this month that fuel-efficient car sales rose last month as a result of higher gas prices.

What lifestyle changes have been forced to make due to rising fuel costs? Let us know in the comments section.

 

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