Americans cut back to pay for gasoline

April 13, 2012 at 8:00 PM

NEW YORK, April 13 (UPI) -- More than half of U.S. residents have spent less on products and services to compensate for the high price for gas they face at the pump, a poll indicated.

An online interactive Harris poll of 2,451 adults surveyed online March 12-19 found 55 percent of Americans who own a car said they've cut back on spending to pay for the increased price of gasoline.

People hardest hit are those with the smallest incomes, the poll said. The survey said 67 percent of families with a household income of less than $35,000 a year have cut back on products or services because of higher gas prices compared with 37 percent with an income of $100,000 or more.

Most of the cutbacks to compensate for gas prices have been in the area of dining out at 75 percent, followed by driving in general at 73 percent, entertainment at 65 percent and weekend or day trips at 65 percent, the Harris Poll found.

Three in five surveyed have reduced purchasing extras such as luxury items (62 percent) and vacations (59 percent), while more than half of respondents say they have cut back spending on clothing (55 percent) and movies (54 percent). Thirty-eight percent of poll respondents say they have reduced spending on groceries, 37 percent on personal grooming such as haircuts or manicures, and 24 percent on auto repairs or upkeep.

There was no margin of error mentioned for the poll.

Gas prices declined last week after one of the most rapid and steepest climbs in recent history, CNN reported Friday.

"Oil prices should fall," said Chris Lafakis, an economist at Moody's Analytics. "That should provide a tail wind for the economy."

If things remain stable, CNN reported.

"Amid rising actual OPEC production, and a sizeable implied build in global stocks, prices have subsequently eased," the International Energy Agency said in its report. "For now at least, the earlier tide of remorseless market tightening looks to have turned."

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