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Survey Finds Most Americans Concerned About Gas Prices But Not Enough to Stop Taking Their Own Car To Work

The vast majority of Americans drive to work, but even the threat of higher gas prices doesn’t seem to be encouraging them much to carpool, take public transportation or buy an energy-efficient hybrid car, according to a new Rasmussen survey.

Among the results:

  • 80% of adults say the price of gas will be at least somewhat important in their deciding what vehicle they will purchase next. For 48%, it is a very important factor. Only 16% say gas prices will be not very or not at all important when they are deciding on the next vehicle they purchase.

  • 88% of adults say they drive to work. 35% say it is at least somewhat likely that the next automobile they buy will be a hybrid car, with 10% saying it is very likely. This number is virtually unchanged from last October after prices at the pump had hit record highs. 36% say they are not very likely to buy a hybrid, and another 20% say they are not at all likely to do so.

  • Government workers are four times as likely as those who work in the private sector to buy a hybrid. Interest in hybrids, which are generally more expensive than gasoline-powered vehicles, is higher among those who earn more annually.

  • Only 8% of those who drive to work say they have used public transportation more in the past year to get to their job. 22% say they have used public transportation less in that time period, and 57% say their usage is about the same as in years past.

  • Among Americans who commute to work, those ages 18 to 29 and those who earn less than $20,000 per year are much more likely to have increased their use of public transportation in the past year.

  • 17% of those who drive to work say they have carpooled more in the past year to save on gas costs, but 74% say they have not. Women who drive to work are nearly twice as likely to have carpooled more in the past year than their male counterparts. Democratic commuters are three times as likely as Republicans to have carpooled more in the last 12 months.

  • Americans give mixed reviews to Congress’ “Cash for Clunkers” plan to encourage the purchase of new, more fuel-efficient cars. 42% favor the proposal to offer car owners up to $4,500 if they turn in their old vehicle and put the money toward an energy-saving replacement, but 34% oppose it.

  • 55% of adults support higher fuel efficiency standards for cars even if it makes them cost more.

Comments

SJC

I got on a web site for car pooling and filled out all the information that they asked for and at the end the page said "thank you for taking out survey". Tax payer funded organizations have to do a much better job matching up car pool people or we will make little progress.

Patrick

Cash for Clunkers...what about my cash for not choosing a gas swilling 15mpg over-sized monstrosity when I purchased a car? Oh, I already made a good choice and therefore don't need incentive? Oh, I saved money when the gas prices sky rocketed? They need to cancel the Cash for Clunkers program - we don't have a great amount of cash lying around. If you don't like paying $100 to fill up your gas tank, you'll make a better choice next time and the poor who "can't pay their bills because of gas costs" won't be taking advantage of this program anyways since they can't afford a new car.

ejj

For the first time in my life I'm living in the downtown area of a large city & walking to my office everyday (can't park a bike anywhere so I walk). I walk back to my apartment, get my truck & drive to a downtown gym - and park at a garage with a valet, then drive back to my apartment. I'd prefer to walk to the gym but the walk home is too far. At any rate, I'm saving a lot of money on gas with my psuedo-pedestrian lifestyle though you need to keep on your toes with traffic.

Roger Pham

"Survey Finds Most Americans Concerned About Gas Prices But Not Enough to Stop Taking Their Own Car To Work."

Well, IMHO, it's because they don't have much of any alternative, in most cases. GM has systematically dismantled rapid and non-polluting street cars decades ago, and with rampant urban sprawl, there would not be sufficient population density for public transit. Buses with fixed routes are too slow and polluting.

And, with most municipalities having budget deficits, it would be increasingly difficult to fund new public transit projects.

Coming to worse, may be UPS and FedEx trucks can be outfitted with seats to take people to and from work. UPS, FedEx and the likes already have an efficient door-to-door pickup and delivery machinery that would cost but a few bucks per each parcel delivered at the door.(discounting the long-distance fares)

sulleny

What this poll tells us is that the much ballyhoo-ed financial incentives to alter transportation behavior - are meaningless. Higher gas prices? No behavior change. Why? Backlash against overwrought "climate change" campaign.

You'd think planners would get the message by now. The public distrust of all things "global warming" related has destroyed opportunity for change. If the billions spent on global warming "studies" was directed to the "Energy Independence" campaign - we might see a difference. Because people would be more willing to ride a bus, buy a hybrid, bicycle to work if the message was "Good for your Land, Good for your Country."

One must wonder how many times these people will bang their head against the wall expecting a different result.

Somebody out there doesn't understand human nature.

sulleny

What this poll tells us is that the much ballyhoo-ed financial incentives to alter transportation behavior - are meaningless. Higher gas prices? No behavior change. Why? Backlash against overwrought "climate change" campaign.

You'd think planners would get the message by now. The public distrust of all things "global warming" related has destroyed opportunity for change. If the billions spent on global warming "studies" was directed to the "Energy Independence" campaign - we might see a difference. Because people would be more willing to ride a bus, buy a hybrid, bicycle to work if the message was "Good for your Land, Good for your Country."

One must wonder how many times these people will bang their head against the wall expecting a different result.

Somebody out there doesn't understand human nature.

Peter9909

Personally, what I think this poll tells is that gas prices are not high enough. Last year, when gas hit $3, people complained but did nothing. When gas hit $4, people started changing their behavior. We need to ensure that gas remains above $4. If it does, nobody will care about climate change, or anything else, one way or the other. Sulleny, you make it sound like people are deliberately buying bigger cars even though it hurts them financially just to spite the environmentalists. People are buying bigger cars because, as of now, it does not hurt them (enough) financially.

SJC

The above $4 per gallon may be one way, but alternatives can be another way. If people can car pool easily by entering into a database, we could expand carpooling a lot. Now that 20 mpg car is a 40 mpg car with two people. That is the easy stuff and we offer more complex ideas before we develop the easy ones.

Reel$$

@ Peter:

Remember the expression: "You'll attract more - with honey, than with vinegar?"


"Good for your Land, Good for your Country." Great slogan Sulleny! (wish I'd thought of it;)

Peter9909

Well, Reel$$, just exactly what would you suggest using as this "honey"?

On another note and in response to part of what sulleny posted above, I was recently at a D-Day reenactment. There were propaganda posters there that said "When you ride alone, you ride with Hitler" with a picture of somebody driving a car and an outline of Hitler in the passenger seat. I thought we should recycle those posters and just cross out "Hitler" and put "Bin Laden", but I'm guessing people wouldn't respond to that the way they did 60 years ago. Nobody likes being told what to do and some people just don't believe the connection. With a gas tax, we don't have to tell anybody what to do. They'll just do it because it makes financial sense. Plus we could use the money for public transit and high speed rail.

SJC

I would favor an oil import fee that would discourage oil imports and encourage domestic production and cellulose biofuels. A 10% fee would net more than $40 billion per year that could go toward reducing oil consumption in many ways.

aym

Problem is we've freeloaded on the low price of gas since it fell during the Reagan era and built 20-30 years of sprawled infrastructure especially in the US. It's sort of like cancer and saying the quality of life is in the amount of living cells instead of how well everything works together. Well, a little wrench like gas going up and what can people do? Very little. You've invested billions and maybe trillions on a system designed to work only in one way and sold it as a desirable even God given right lifestyle - cheap gas.

As for the call for energy independence as the note that needs to be sent and how greens killed it. Let it rest. Jimmy Carter said the same thing. It bombed then.

It's going to take education and constant drilling into and frankly joy-killing tactics to frankly get people and society to make better long term choices. It only takes political will and willingness. Hitler was able to create long term technical plans to get around limitations of gasoline and rubber by using the F-T method and BUNA rubber. It took years of planning and execution. Can such foresight and will be harnessed for good instead of just creating a war machine? It better.

Reel$$

Whine and moan and invoke Hitler? Pathetic. With nearly 60 hybrid/EV auto designs coming online next year the days of gasoline are ending. What needs foresight is a view of the failed global warming campaign. Turns out manufacturing science to meet political goals is no longer an option. That leaves one final step; anathema to gaian alarmists - learning to tell the truth.

aym

What's pathethic is you. The days of gasoline are hardly ending. It will take decades if not longer for those cars to be taken up. Years more for the technologies to actually penetrate unless overt action is taken. Years before the gas cars already bought get replaced.

http://www.greencarcongress.com/2009/06/nearterm-liion-20090616.html

Overt planning does and has worked in the past when push came to shove. The Prius and hybrid technology was an overt push and decision to go in that direction and it payed off. Load mouth ideologues like you were the ones that scoffed for years and controlled companies like GM and drove them into the ground by believing in their own garbage.

As for AGW, your ranting is tiring and shows your lack of maturity and intellectual developement. Go look into the mirror and watch your mouth froathing because madness isn't too far behind. You couldn't see the truth through your madness anymore than you can behind a brick wall. Everything gets interpreted through your blatent beliefs and it's pretty obvious that it has shuttered and coloured everything. I suggust broadening your horizens by reading but your indoctrination background won't let you grow out of that droplet you call your worldview.

SJC

"It will take decades if not longer for those cars to be taken up."

If you sell 2% hybrids every year for ten years guess what, out of the 200 million vehicles on the U.S. highways, less than 2% are hybrids. I do not call that making progress. Cellulose biofuels will make more progress, sooner and at a lower cost.

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