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AAA: U.S. Drivers' "Breaking Point" on Gasoline Nears $3.50 per Gallon

By Caroline Bennett - Apr 24, 2013 at 12:48PM

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86% of survey respondents said they are driving less to offset higher gas prices.

The price per gallon at which consumers consider gas "too high" has gotten higher, according to a new gas price index from AAA.

AAA found that 50% of U.S. adults consider $3.44 a gallon to be "too high" when it comes to gas pricing, according to information released yesterday. AAA President and CEO Robert Darbelnet said this may be a sign that consumer sentiments are changing. "It was not long ago," he was quoted as saying, "that motorists were shocked to pay more than $3 per gallon for gasoline, but now that is standard at stations nationwide."

The current average price is $3.52 per gallon, according to AAA, with prices varying within a $1 range across the country.

According to the study's findings, 46% of the 1,011 surveyed adults thought gas was too high at $3.00 per gallon. Additionally, 61% believed gas was too high at $3.50 a gallon, and 90% agreed that $4.00 was too high.

The national average has not gone above $4.00 since 2008, though it has remained above $3.00 per gallon for 28 consecutive months, and above $3.44 per gallon for 82 days.

The survey also suggested that more Americans are countering higher gas prices by changing their driving habits. Eighty-six percent of survey participants said they are driving less, while 71% are cutting back on restaurants and shopping, and 54% use a car with greater fuel efficiency. Meanwhile, 53% said they were delaying major purchases to offset gas prices while 39% said they were working closer to home, and 33% said they were carpooling. Fifteen percent said they were using public transportation more regularly.

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