Gas Prices and Consumer Behavior: What’s YOUR Pain Threshold?

First, it was $4.00.  That was the magical amount economists said a gallon of gasoline would have to cost before we saw definite changes in consumer behavior.  It was considered a kind of “psychological threshold” at which point severe sticker shock would set in prompting drivers to alter their routine to save money.  But $4-a-gallon gas came and went (in some parts of the country, like here in Oregon, it came and stayed) and, while we complained a bit louder, most of us continued on our merry way albeit a little lighter in the wallet.

So that threshold was revised upwards to $5.30 a gallon.  Surely, at that point, we’ll all be tempted to garage the SUV in favor of a bike, or even public transportation.  Hopefully, it will be a while before we find out.  While parts of Southern California saw fuel prices slip over $5 earlier this year but much of country is still filling the tank for $3.50-$4.00.

It took a while for this blogger to feel the aptly named “pain at the pump”.  I usually put a dollar amount in the tank – $30 at a time – rather than top it off.  Then I realized I was dropping $30 bucks on fuel every other day.  Hello, sticker shock; Farewell random kayaking trips in remote Northern California.  There are plenty of lakes closer to home.

So, our question to you is what’s YOUR threshold?  Have you already changed your driving habits?  If so, how?  And if not, when will you?  In the meantime, anybody up for a carpool?

Sources:
www.usatoday.com
www.thetruthaboutcars.com

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