It is old news gas prices have rose above the $3-$4 a gallon mark in early parts of 2011. Over the past year, gas prices have gone to nearly record highs in all states, as high as $4.18 a gallon. Fortunately, the price of gas has dropped across the country, with the national average fuel cost at $3.56-$3.73 a gallon.
The price of gasoline may be down from the previously high costs, but it still sits $1 a gallon more than fuel costs for early parts of 2010. So, how have the gas prices affected the people of America?
According to a recent study, over 1.3 million people have decided to use alternative modes of transportation and have left their vehicles at home in an effort to save on the growing cost of fuel, while other drivers have been forced to be more conservative on gas by traveling less. Roughly 16.5 million drivers are traveling less frequently, planning ahead for their stops, and using alternative transportation systems when available in hopes to conserve on gas.
The same study suggests over 3 million drivers have been forced to downgrade, or buy a smaller more practical vehicle, in an effort to save on fuel costs. People are being forced to be economical by rely less on the appearance and luxury or bigger vehicles.
Other drivers are being forced to extremes in an effort to afford gasoline; according to a study conducted in the south, people are giving up meat and expensive produce to be able to afford gasoline. The rising cost of fuel has forced drivers to choose between transportation and feeding their families.
The increase in gas prices over the last year has had numerous effects on the economy and drivers in America. The highly traveled holidays and vacation destinations are increasingly becoming slower, hurting the local economies of states such as Florida. AAA projected the 2011 Forth of July traveling weekend to have a 3 percent drop from previous years, due to the effect gas prices has had on families.
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