Gas prices surpass $4, leading Americans to make lifestyle changes: AAA

National average for a gallon of regular gasoline reached $4.318 on Thursday

U.S. motorists were reeling over gas prices even before the national average surpassed record highs this week. 


As of Thursday, the national average for a gallon of regular gasoline reached $4.318, according to AAA data. Prices surpassed the $4 mark Sunday for the first time in 14 years. 

However, two-thirds of Americans said gas prices were already too expensive even when the national average hit $3.53 per gallon a few weeks ago, according to a AAA survey. Over half of motorists, 59%, admitted that if prices hit $4 a gallon, they would make changes to their driving habits or lifestyle, according to the data. 

Gas prices are advertised at over six dollars a gallon Monday

Gas prices are advertised at over six dollars a gallon Monday, March 7, 2022, in Los Angeles.  ((AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez) / AP Newsroom)

"Now with the national average at an all-time high of over $4, Americans may have reached a tipping point," according to AAA spokesperson Ellen Edmonds. 

The national average has continued to rise since the beginning of the year due to strained supply and increased demand, according to Edmonds. However, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine two weeks ago caused oil prices to surge higher, pushing prices at the pump to levels not seen in over a decade. 


If prices continue in this direction, reaching $5 per gallon, three-quarters of motorists surveyed admitted they would have to alter their lifestyle. 

It's a reality many are already facing in the western part of the country where some prices at the pump have already surpassed that mark. For instance, the national average for a gallon of regular gasoline in California is roughly 30 cents shy of $6.


Alex Reyes, 28, filled his gas tank, Nov. 15, 2021, in Los Angeles. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images / Getty Images)

Among the motorists who said they would change their habits, 80% said they would drive less, according to the survey. 

However, "while many Americans may adapt their daily habits to make up for higher gas prices, it likely won’t have as much of an impact on summer travel," according to Edmonds. 

More than half of motorists, 52%, still plan to take a vacation this summer. The majority of them, 42%, don't plan on changing their travel plans regardless of the price of gas, according to the survey.