Campus News

Gas prices haven’t changed behavior

Although Georgians were alarmed by the sharp rise in gas prices following Hurricane Katrina and are pessimistic about the future of prices at the pump, most of the state’s residents have not changed their lifestyles as a result of the crisis.

According to the most recent Peach State Poll, Georgians are neither carpooling to work or school more often nor turning to public transportation where it is available. Only one in five Georgians (20 percent) say that the higher fuel costs have forced them to cut back on many other household expenses; one in three Georgians (33 percent) say that they have not cut back on anything.

“Based on poll data, it appears that the public has responded to the price increase by making only modest changes in commuting patterns,” says Rich Clark, poll director. “While these changes may be helpful in reducing fuel consumption for the time being, they are not likely to lead to a long-term public conservation effort.”

Clark cites as evidence the fact that most people are not considering carpooling or buying a more fuel-efficient vehicle (done by only 23 percent and 16 percent, respectively), preferring instead to reduce the amount of driving they do and to shop nearer their homes (70 percent and 51 percent, respectively).

The Peach State Poll is a quarterly survey of public opinion conducted by UGA’s Carl Vinson Institute of Government.