Gas prices tighten budgets, holiday travel plans - | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Six in 10 cutting budgets to cope with gas prices

A man pumps gas in Clayton, WA. The state is one of three to see double digit price hikes from April to May. (Source: teresia/Flickr) A man pumps gas in Clayton, WA. The state is one of three to see double digit price hikes from April to May. (Source: teresia/Flickr)

(RNN) - Despite the slow decline in gas prices, a recent survey found nearly 60 percent of Americans say they've cut their spending this year to compensate for prices at the pump.

According to a survey from the financial services website, 59 percent of Americans are reacting to gas prices by cutting down spending on non-essentials.

The number is slightly lower than the week of April 30, when 63 percent of people said they were cutting back to cope with fuel costs.

"Consumers are still feeling the impact of elevated gas prices in an environment of stagnant wages," said Greg Mc Bride,'s senior financial analyst.

The survey was released the same week the automotive group AAA found the national average gas price had dropped 4 cents from the week before.

Gas hit a peak price of $3.94 on April 6. The national average has fallen for 41 of the 45 days since, bringing prices down by 25 cents.

According to the AAA, national average gas prices are holding around $3.69 per gallon for regular, self-serve gas.

Despite the positive news, AAA says we're not celebrating.

"The overall domestic economic picture continues to improve slightly," AAA President and CEO Robert L. Darbelnet said. "However, American consumers faced a new challenge this year as steadily increasing gas prices throughout the spring significantly squeezed many household budgets."

From the end of January to the beginning of April, prices at the pump rose 65 out of 70 days, moving from $3.38 in January to the high of $3.94 per gallon.

During the Memorial Day weekend, consumers are expected to stay closer to home to compensate for the possibility of last-minute gas hikes. AAA says we'll travel 150 miles less than we did last year, an average of 642 miles.

The numbers include both drivers and air travelers, although drivers were the largest group surveyed, about 88 percent.

"Americans will still travel during the Memorial Day holiday weekend, but many will compensate for reduced travel budgets by staying closer to home and cutting entertainment dollars," Darbelnet said.

The survey found nearly half - 47 percent - of those travelling for the holiday said they would cut down on some part of their trips in response to gas prices.

Copyright 2012 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.

State with higher gas prices than last month (sidebar)


Some states still get no break Although the national average price at the pump has slowly been declining week-to-week, there are a number of states that haven't seen the trend head their way yet. Most More>>

Powered by Frankly