AAA: Ahead of summer, many Americans say gas prices are too high

Contact: Nick Jarmusz
(608)-556-4744, [email protected]

A new AAA survey reveals that nearly a quarter of consumers believe the price at the pump is already too high. The current national average of $2.28 per gallon is 25 cents above what it was at this time last year. Locally, Wisconsin prices range from an average of $2.16 in the Madison area to $2.31 in La Crosse (additional metro averages can be found at AAA projects that the national average for a gallon of gasoline will increase an additional 40 cents by summer, peaking near $2.70.

More than 70 percent of consumers say they would make everyday lifestyle or driving habit changes to offset the higher prices expected this summer. The top five changes drivers would make include:

Combining errands or trips
Driving less

Reducing shopping or dining out

Delaying major purchases


However, not everyone will jump to make a change. The survey found that younger Americans (18-34) are more tolerant of higher prices and less likely to change habits compared to older consumers (35 and older).

“Higher gas prices are already influencing the travel industry,” said Nick Jarmusz, Wisconsin director of public affairs for AAA – The Auto Club Group. “The good news is people are still planning to hit the road. With nearly 80 percent of family travelers planning a road trip this year, higher gas prices are making shorter trips to national parks and theme parks the most desired travel destinations.”

During April, Americans across the country will start to see gas prices begin to climb as the industry wraps up spring maintenance and completes the switchover to summer-blend gasoline. Over the years, public opinion for whether a gallon of gasoline is too high or too low has fluctuated as much as the price itself.

When gas prices are above the $3.00 benchmark (as they were in 2013 and 2014), Americans believe prices should be six percent lower.
When gas prices are below the $3.00 benchmark (as they were in 2015 and 2016), Americans believe a 25 percent increase is too high.

This report presents the findings of a telephone survey conducted among two national probability samples (landline only and cell phone), which, when combined, consists of 1,017 adults, 510 men and 507 women, 18 years of age and older, living in the continental United States. Interviewing for this survey was completed on February 2-5, 2017. 517 interviews were from the landline sample and 500 interviews from the cell phone sample. This study has an average statistical error of ±3.1 percent at the 95 percent confidence level for all U.S. adults.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 57 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at Motorists can map a route, identify gas prices, find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Learn more at