: Inflation is red hot and drivers are reaching their breaking point
On Thursday, national average pump prices broke the record set just one day earlier. But even before retail gas prices broke all-time highs, drivers across the country were ready to veer into all sorts of fuel and money-saving tactics.
Nearly two-thirds of drivers (59%) said they would change their driving habits if gas prices passed the $4 mark and three-quarters said they would do it if gas touched $5, according to a AAA survey released Thursday. Those habits include less driving, combined trips and more carpooling.
Eight in ten people considering changes said they would drive less. Survey participants under age 35 were more also likely to consider carpooling. People above that age were also more likely to say they’d combine errands in trips and cut back on trips to dine and shop.
Researchers conducted the 1,051-person survey from Feb. 18 to Feb. 22, when gas prices looked like a relative deal compared to now. As MarketWatch reported Thursday, Americans are already taking immediate steps to reduce their mileage, given the spike in gas prices.
On Feb. 24, the day Russian President Vladimir Putin announced military operations in Ukraine, a gallon of gas was $3.54, according to AAA’s national average.
On Thursday — with Putin’s military operations now an increasingly violent invasion offering few signs of an immediate halt — AAA said the national average was $4.31.
That broke the record set one day before at $4.25. Tuesday’s $4.17 average initially broke the record, which was previously $4.11 on July 17, 2008, not adjusted for inflation.
“The $4.11 spent in July 2008 equals $5.30 spent last month, according to inflation adjustments from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.”
The $4.11 spent in July 2008 equals $5.30 spent last month, according to inflation adjustments from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. As of Thursday, California residents were paying a $5.69 average for a gallon of gas, AAA numbers show.
Speaking of inflation, the survey comes the same day that new inflation data showed the cost of living climbing 0.8% from January to February. Compared to a year ago, costs are up 7.9%, the Consumer Price Index data showed.
Gasoline prices popped 6.6% month-over-month and 38% year-over-year, according to the data.
The latest Consumer Price Index numbers don’t even fully capture the price impact from the Russia-Ukraine turmoil; in America, upcoming inflation rates of 8% and 9% are possible, some economists say.
The AAA survey suggests it could be a pricey summer, when gas prices traditionally increase even without global conflicts upsetting the world’s crude-oil markets. Half of the poll participants said they had summer plans, and 42% said they wouldn’t change them, no matter the price of gas.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is causing some people to re-think their European getaways this spring, according to Hopper, the travel booking app. Since Russian troops crossed the border, searches for roundtrips between the U.S. and Europe fell 9% below expected levels, Hopper data showed.