New Study Reveals Varying Opinions of Gasoline Prices by Demographic Group

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High gas prices affect buying habits and opinions differently depending on age, gender, political affiliation, and even marital status or education level. Survey research shows where the biggest differences are.

Gasoline prices are affecting the World economy

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As of September 3, 2008, the average gasoline price in the United States was $3.69 (http://www.zfacts.com). Although the average gasoline price has dropped more than ten cents compared to the previous month, Americans are still feeling the strain at the pump. A recent political research study by the National Business Research Institute, Inc. ("NBRI") shows that attitudes toward gasoline prices vary significantly by demographic group, such as Age, Gender, Annual Income, Level of Education, Marital Status, Political Party, Voter Registration Status, and State of Residence.

NBRI Research Methodology:
An online survey designed by NBRI regarding attitudes, opinions, and beliefs toward gasoline prices was distributed to 62,196 individuals from July 22 through 31, 2008. The survey centered on three topics: Gasoline Prices, Buying Habits, and the U.S. Government.

The questions regarding Gasoline Prices consisted of five items:
Gasoline prices are affecting the U.S. economy.
Gasoline prices are affecting the World economy.
Gasoline prices affect my travel plans.
Gasoline prices will fall in the next year.
Gasoline prices are artificially inflated by big oil companies.

The questions regarding Americans' Buying Habits consisted of five items:
I can afford to buy gasoline for my vehicle.
I now spend less for other needs in order to afford gasoline.
I intend to purchase a more fuel efficient vehicle due to gasoline prices.
I use alternative fuels due to gasoline prices.
I use public transportation due to gasoline prices.

The questions regarding the U.S. Government consisted of four items:
The U.S. Government should buy less oil from the Middle East.
The U.S. Government should pay for part of my gasoline expenses.
The U.S. Government should invest in alternative energy sources.
The U.S. Government should cap gasoline prices.

A total of 1,768 surveys were completed and returned to NBRI for analysis. A confidence level of 99%, and a 3% sampling error was achieved.

Survey Results Summary:

  • 87% of the total respondents agree that gasoline prices affect their travel plans.
  • Democrats (65%) feel more strongly than Republicans (51%) that gasoline prices will not decrease over the next year.

77% of the total respondents feel that gasoline prices are artificially inflated by big oil companies.

  • Respondents who are Married (83%) feel more strongly that they can afford to buy gasoline for their vehicle than those who are Divorced/Widowed/Separated (71%).
  • Respondents with Some College experience (73%) spend less for other needs in order to afford gasoline than respondents who are College Graduates (59%).
  • Men (51%) are more likely to purchase a more fuel efficient vehicle due to gasoline prices than Women (46%).
  • Respondents from Iowa (63%) are more likely to use alternative fuels due to gasoline prices than respondents from New York (7%), Nevada (8%), California (8%), and Texas (8%).
  • Respondents who are Married (89%) use less public transportation than respondents who are Divorced, Widowed, or Separated (92%).

High School graduates (98%) agree more than College graduates (94%) that the U.S. Government should buy less oil from the Middle East.

  • Respondents who are registered voters (75%) feel more strongly that the U.S. Government should not pay for part of their gasoline expenses than respondents who are not registered voters (51%).
  • Democrats (98%) and Independents (95%) feel more strongly that the U.S. Government should invest in alternative energy sources than Republicans (89%).
  • Men (58%) feel more strongly that the U.S. Government should not cap gasoline prices than Women (28%).

For the two questions, "Gasoline prices are affecting the U.S. economy" and "Gasoline prices are affecting the World economy," there were no significant differences found in any of the demographic categories.

(For more detailed results, please refer to NBRI's Gasoline Prices Survey Research - Appendix A).

About NBRI:
The National Business Research Institute is a consulting firm that specializes in psychological research (i.e. customer, employee, patient, political, and market research surveys) in order to assist businesses and governments in understanding the thinking of their human populations. The firm was founded in 1982 and the consultants working for NBRI possess Ph.D. degrees in Organizational Psychology with expertise in psychological research.

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Dr. J.T. West, Ph.D.
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