How High Gas Prices Are Impacting Consumer Behavior

by Anna Dunn
West Hollywood, CA, Tuesday, March 8, 2022 - Jesse Espersen from Topanga fills his SUV with 16.536 gallons of Super+ gas at 7.559 per gallon for a total of 125 dollars at a Mobil station at the corner of La Cienega Blvd. and Beverly Blvd.(Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

It should come as no surprise that high gas prices are having an impact on consumer behavior. And the longer these high prices go on, the bigger the impact. Here’s exactly how they’re impacting consumer behavior:

At a Glance:

  • As of March 19th, the National Average for Gas was $4.26 A Gallon.
  • In sime states, the price of gas has reached over $5 per gallon.
  • 59% of Americans have changed up their driving Habits to Cope with the high price of gas.
  • Many have decided to carpool, take public transport, and go out less.

With A National Average Over $4, High Gas Prices Are Taking a Toll

According to Yahoo! Finance, drivers are changing their habits to adjust to the price of gas, which averaged at $4.26 a gallon nationwide today.

Robert Sinclair Jr, Public Affairs Senior Manager with AAA Northeast, spoke with Yahoo!Finance about the crisis, noting that these prices are “without a doubt” changing consumer behavior. Additionally, Vectis Energy Partners Principal Tamar Essner explained in a separate interview how the price of Gas impacts the Economy at large.

We’re seeing that consumers are having real sticker shock. And the question is: Does the sticker shock translate into actual demand destruction? And we think in certain parts of the economy that’s already happening. In certain parts of the world, that already is.”

According to a survey conducted by AAA, 59% of Americans have changed their driving habits to cope with the high price of gas. If the price goes above $5 per gallon, which it has in some states, 75% of consumers have noted that they’ll need to make adjustments.

States on the West Coast appear to be the worst-hit right now. Oregon, Washington, California, Arizona, and Nevada are all experiencing gas prices over $5 per gallon, sometimes as high as $5.27 per gallon.

However, it does appear Americans are better equipped to handle this surge in price than they were during the crisis in the 70s.

“Relative to the 1970s, the consumer overall is in a much better space today,” Essner said, when asked if Americans could handle a more long-term crisis.

Experts Say That A Lot of Other Sectors of The Economy are In Good Shape

Andrew Lipow of Lipow Oil Associates told Yahoo!Finance that the advantage Americans have now over many other oil and gas crises is other sectors of the economy are fairly robust, noting that the United States is “not in a financial crisis. Housing prices are robust. The stock market has been moving up. So the consumer, for the most part, has extra money to spend on gasoline. But they don’t like to spend more.”

But this rise in prices is still hurting people. Many have opted to carpool or take public transport if those options are available to them until these prices start to lower again. But as of right now, there’s not much of an end in sight.