$5 Gas Coming Soon, People Fear
Americans will soon be paying $5 a gallon for gasoline, at least if a survey of people who haven’t the foggiest idea of how the petroleum market works is any indication.
Americans are already paying through the nose for gasoline, and they think it’s only going to get worse. A CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll found that 94% of respondents expect they will have to pay $4 a gallon sometime this year – and 78% said they figure it will hit $5.
The national average for gasoline was $3.61 on Monday, according to motorist group AAA.
Consumers’ fears that they will have to pay more have intensified. A year ago, 79% thought gas would cost $4 by the end of 2007 and only 28% feared $5 gas.
At the same time, high prices seem to be easier to swallow now than it has been for most consumers in the past. Of the more than 1,000 American adults surveyed in the poll, conducted April 28-30, 60% said high fuel prices have caused hardship for them or their household. That’s down from 72% in March and 66% during the same time last year.
Public opinion polls are useful for a lot of things. Predicting rising prices is not among them. What we’ve learned from this poll is that, when gas prices are rising, people think they will keep rising — but only to the next logical price threshold.