Gas prices in San Francisco on Wednesday (USA Today image)
Princeton, NJ (Gallup) -- As the national average gas prices continue their climb, the Gallup Poll group asked: "How high do gas prices have to go before you significantly cut your spending?"
You can see the complete poll results on the Gallup website.
Americans on average say gas prices of $5.30 to $5.35 per gallon are the tipping point that would make them cut back on spending in other areas or make significant changes in the way they live their lives.
These responses are based on questions included in Gallup interviewing conducted March 5-6. The price of a gallon of regular gas has jumped over the last several months to an average of $3.76 on March 8 from an average below $3.35 in November, according to the AAA Daily Fuel Gauge report.
The two questions about the implications of the rising price of gas on spending and lifestyle changes were asked of two separate random split samples of about 500 respondents each. Americans appear to make little distinction about the impact of gas prices, whether the question is worded as "significant cutbacks in your spending in other areas" or "significant changes in the way you live your life."
The responses varied widely, with 14% to 17% of Americans saying a price of less than $4 per gallon would be high enough to cause them to change their lifestyle or cut back on spending elsewhere. Another 28% each say a price point in the $4 range would cause these changes. The overall average "tipping point" price of roughly $5.30, however, suggests there is room for a considerably greater increase in gas prices before Americans say prices will begin to have widespread, serious consequences on their spending and lifestyle patterns.