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Study: Gasoline is More Important Than Health Care

GasBuddy recently released its 2019 Consumer Sentiment on Gasoline Study, revealing Americans are more dependent on and frustrated by fuel purchases than ever before. Americans collectively spent $388 billion on gasoline in 2018, averaging to 34 million fill-ups a day. GasBuddy, an App connecting drivers with gas stations, released a study that finds that the necessity, perception, and price of gasoline adversely impacts Americans across all age groups and income brackets, with a staggering 86 percent of Americans depending on gasoline for their everyday lives.

The study found that respondents categorized gasoline as a household expenditure that is more important than other major expenses such as healthcare and savings/emergency funds, only behind groceries, housing/rent, and utilities. When given the choice, respondents would rather receive a free fill-up than find $20 cash on the street or getting their dinner bill paid for.

“Gas prices are extremely volatile and hard to predict, making it difficult to budget for. Yet, it is a major necessity for millions of Americans,” said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analyst at GasBuddy. “In 2018, we collectively spent $49 billion more on gasoline than 2017. People, no matter their age, gender or socioeconomic background, are not only frustrated by how much they pay but the options they have in how to pay.”

Additional key findings: 

  • More than half of respondents (57 percent) believe gas is frustrating to budget for
  • Nearly two-thirds (65 percent) said gas prices impact their ability to spend money on other items and services. This impact is especially felt by young people age 18 to 24 (70 percent)
  • Nearly 40 percent of people say that gas prices affect their mood
  • Half of the respondents say that gas prices help them assess the health of the economy
  • 63 percent of respondents believe gas prices are too high, even though gas prices are some of the lowest since July 2017

According to the study, 25 percent of respondents purchase gasoline four times per month, with an additional 20 percent purchasing gasoline more than five times a month. The leading payment method is with a debit card (44 percent). Even with the rise of cash-back credit cards, only 38 percent of consumers pay for gasoline with credit, while 14 percent of Americans pay with cash.

GasBuddy compiled results from a gasoline survey taken by 1,016 respondents on Jan. 8.


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