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Poll: High gas prices painful for many Americans

May 20, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
A new poll shows that high gas prices are forcing people to make some tough choices as the average price per gallon is climbing over $4.

A new Associated Press poll found that four in 10 Americans are saying soaring gas prices are having a significant impact on their bottom line.

According to the poll, 71 percent said rising prices will cause some hardship for them and their family including 41 percent who called it a "serious" hardship. On the other side, just 29 percent said rising prices are not having a negative impact on their finances.

For senior citizens, it is especially difficult. The share of seniors with financial hardship over gas prices hit 76 percent. That number is up from 68 percent in March. Some said they're even giving up expensive medicine to stay on budget.

Of the drivers making changes to deal with the rising gas prices, 72 percent said they're cutting back on expenses, 66 percent said they're driving less and 48 percent said they've changed their vacation plans.

Many drivers said the surging gas prices are adding up.

"Probably a good $35 to $40 more just to get back and forth to work," said Sherman Oaks resident Mark Hesley. "I can't go out to dinner like I used to with the kids and family. Yeah, it's tough, it really is."

In Southern California, gas prices have dropped very slightly, but across all counties, the price tag for a gallon of gas still exceeds $4.

In the Los Angeles-Long Beach area, gas is $4.16 per gallon, which is 9 cents down from last week. In Orange County, gas is $4.15 per gallon, which is 8 cents down from last week. In the Inland Empire, gas is $4.14 per gallon, which is 9 cents down from last week. In Ventura County, gas is $4.18 per gallon, which is 8 cents down from last week.

Experts said the high gas prices will affect the Memorial Day holiday, even though more people will be traveling.

The American Automobile Association said about 100,000 more travelers will be taking a trip this Memorial Day, but they said they'll be making shorter trips and keeping a tight grip on their wallets and not spending money on extras.


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