Monday, April 04, 2005

This CNN poll, in which 58% said gas prices are a 'hardship' is a bit hard to take at face value...

At $2.22 a gallon, for those only getting 12 MPG and driving 20,000 miles a year, the gas bill is only $3,700 a year. Using $1 per gallon as a base, the extra outlay for gas is only about $2,000 a year, $170 a month, less than $40 a week. Is $40 a week enough to cause a hardship for 58% of the people?

And that is for people driving much more than the national averages and getting much worse fuel economy than the national averages. For everybody who drives less, or drives a more fuel-efficient car, the extra costs are even less. The gas bill for someone driving 16,000 miles a year and getting 18 MPG is less than $2,000 a year - just $1,084 more a year, only $20 a week... not exactly hardship conditions. And with the the national average is 11,000 miles a year and 24.4 MPG, those getting the national average or better ought to be able to pay the higher fuel bills with just the change they have under their floor mats (assuming they have as much loose change in the car as I do, of course).

A key to discounting the survey lies within the survey itself (I know the problems of citing a faulty survey for purposes of discounting said survey). After all, if higher gas prices were causing such hardships, wouldn't you expect more than 48% to report cutting back on their driving? How can it be a hardship if 60% said "gas prices have not led them to cut back on household spending"? I know I'd have to cut back on spending if I was suffering a financial hardship... wouldn't you?