AAA Says Half of U.S. Considers $3.44 a Gallon Gasoline Too High

Half of U.S. drivers find the price of gasoline too high at $3.44 a gallon, and almost two-thirds are changing their habits on the road and at home to offset the cost, a AAA survey found.

The average price of gasoline at the pump fell 0.3 cent to $3.515 a gallon today, AAA said on its website. It’s been higher than $3.44 threshold since Jan. 30.

The largest U.S. motoring organization said people are driving less, delaying major purchases and limiting shopping and eating out because of high gasoline prices, even as the U.S. economy tries to rebound from job losses, bank failures and housing market collapses.

“Most people have resigned themselves to paying higher gas prices and are cutting back on driving, shopping and dining out to save money,” Robert L. Darbelnet, chief executive officer of Heathrow, Florida-based AAA, said in a statement.

About 46 percent of the 974 respondents in a AAA telephone survey said gasoline prices are too high at $3 a gallon, and 90 percent said $4 is their threshold. AAA expects prices to be between $3.20 and $3.40 a gallon this summer, said Michael Green, a spokesman for the organization.

More than half those responding said they are driving more fuel-efficient cars because of high gasoline prices. One-third are carpooling, 39 percent work closer to home and 15 percent use public transportation more regularly.

About 86 percent said they are driving less, 71 percent reported shopping and eating out more infrequently and 53 percent said they put off major purchases.

AAA said it surveyed landline and mobile phone users over age 18 during the last three days of March and combined answers from 974 people to determine the potential “consumer breaking point” for gasoline prices. The study has a 95 percent margin of error of plus or minus 3.8 percent, the organization said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Dan Murtaugh in Houston at dmurtaugh@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Stets at dstets@bloomberg.net

Press spacebar to pause and continue. Press esc to stop.

Bloomberg reserves the right to remove comments but is under no obligation to do so, or to explain individual moderation decisions.

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.