High fuel prices changing lives

Published 12:40 pm Wednesday, July 9, 2008

According to a survey conducted June 5 through June 11, 94 percent of people are making lifestyle changes to save money due to increasing gas prices. The survey involved more than 1,000 consumers over the age of 18. MapQuest.com conducted the poll, and the results were outstanding.

The survey found that 80 percent of people are stopping some of their day-to-day activities; 19 percent are giving up heating and air conditioning; 18 percent are resorting to paying the minimum balance on credit cards and delaying bill payments; 66 percent say that gas prices have caused them to alter vacation plans; 34 percent have cancelled vacations altogether; 24 percent are turning to the Internet to find cheap gas prices; one out of 10 consumers are stopping or cutting back on medications; and over half of the people surveyed have compared gas prices to plane tickets for vacations and trips.

With so many people all trying to do their part in keeping gas prices from running their lives, many are looking to the government for answers. As gas prices keep rising, more and more people are starting to ask what the government is going to do about it. In the survey, 78 percent said they felt that the federal government should step in and set limits on gas prices, while 27 percent said they believed oil companies are to blame for continually rising prices.

“There’s no question that rising gas prices are having a significant impact on the lives of consumers across the county,” Christian Dwyer, MapQuest’s senior vice president and general manager, said. “Our survey shows the extent of the hardships consumers are experiencing as well as the concessions they’re making to offset these costs.”

According to AAA, the state average for gas is $3.96 per gallon with a U.S. average of $4.10 per gallon. Compared to last year’s state average of $2.82 a gallon and the U.S. average of $2.96 a gallon, some areas are paying almost double what they were paying. Over the past month, gas prices have even risen by another 11 cents. Consumers driving vehicles that use diesel are in for a bigger bill as state prices are averaging $4.72 a gallon and the U.S. average is $4.80 a gallon.

With gas prices staying around an average of $4 a gallon, consumers are forced to become a statistic that shows how drastically lives are being changed because of elevated fuel prices.