Americans Say They’re Willing to Sacrifice Leisure Activities to Compensate for Rising Gas Prices,
According to New uSamp Survey
Overwhelming Percentage Express Concern About Rising Fuel Costs;
Many Mull Transportation Alternatives, Anticipate Hikes to Continue
With gas prices nearing record levels as summer vacation approaches, Americans are contemplating ways to compensate for the rise by making cuts in other areas of their household budgets. On the chopping block are, in order of likelihood, meals at restaurants, new clothes and shoes, summer driving vacations, and movies and concerts.
These are among the findings of a new nationwide survey released by uSamp (www.uSamp.com), one of the world's fastest growing technology and online survey respondent companies. The company surveyed nearly 1,000 adults from April 14 to April 20.
uSamp is not a market research organization, but instead supplies online survey respondents to market research firms. Periodically, the company conducts surveys to showcase the richness and depth of its online panel. uSamp does not make recommendations or formulate opinions on products or services.
The findings reflect widespread anxiety about where pump prices are and where they may be headed. Fully 95 percent of respondents reported that they are “very concerned” or “somewhat concerned” with rising gas prices. And they don't see price increases ending anytime soon.
According to the survey, 55 percent of respondents expect fuel prices to rise more than 50 cents, 23 percent anticipate a jump of 30 to 50 cents, and 14 percent predict an increase of 10 to 30 cents. Only 8 percent think prices will level off or decline.
When asked how they'll make up for this hit to the family budget, respondents were clear: a substantial majority said they are willing to cut their expenses on various types of discretionary spending.
Cut-backs are most likely to affect eating meals out, with 59 percent saying they would cook at home more. Half of those surveyed said they would delay purchases of new clothes or shoes.
And in one tangible way to bypass the pump, nearly half (48 percent) are rethinking summer vacation plans to hit the highways. Also up for reconsideration: attendance at movies and concerts, at 45 percent; charitable contributions, cited by 38 percent; and that morning coffee out, which 30 percent say they plan to skip.
At the same time, to make up for the increased cost of gasoline, respondents don't intend to sacrifice expenditures that they view as necessities or part of long-term goals. Less than 15 percent said they plan to reduce spending on groceries, insurance premiums, or retirement fund contributions.
The gas price spike is forcing Americans to re-examine their transportation options as well. In addition to the nearly 70 percent who plan to limit car trips, a quarter of survey respondents are now considering carpooling, 23 percent are looking at getting a more fuel-efficient vehicle, 20 percent are thinking about taking mass transit, and 15 percent may buy a hybrid or electric vehicle. Some 18 percent have fingers crossed as they wait out the current trend and hope for a return to 2010 prices.
Women More Pessimistic Than Men?
Although men and women expressed roughly equal levels of concern about price hikes, women are slightly more pessimistic about the future. Some 57 percent of women expect gas prices to rise by more than 50 cents per gallon, compared to 52 percent of men.
Women are most likely to trim discretionary expenditures in the areas of eating out (62 percent) and shopping for clothing or shoes (57 percent). By contrast, men are most apt to cut back on meals out (57 percent) and summer driving vacations (46 percent).
When it comes to making sacrifices, age matters. By a wide margin, respondents 55 and older are least likely to curtail spending on items deemed discretionary and essential. In every category except charitable contributions, seniors indicated significant reluctance to change their behavior; nearly a quarter selected “none of the above.”
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, gas prices vary significantly by region. In late April, the West Coast ranked highest, at nearly $4.10 per gallon of regular, compared to the national average of $3.87, with California's average price at $4.21.
The cheapest regular gasoline was available in the Gulf Coast, Lower Atlantic and Rocky Mountain regions, all at $3.78 or lower. But despite these regional differences, respondents across the nation share a common worry about rising prices, with 74 percent saying they are “very concerned.”
Anxiety is highest in the South, at 78 percent.
uSamp’s gas prices survey was conducted online among 991 U.S. residents between April 14 and April 20, 2011 using a combination of the uSamp Online Panel & River Sample® methodology and resulting in a 3.6 percent margin of error. For a full copy of the report, which includes data by gender, age and region, email
Please visit: http://www.usamp.com/ for more information
Encino, Calif - 5 May 2011