National Poll: Americans Expect Gas Prices to Rise More

Fifteen Percent Live Near Convenient Transit Options

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By a margin greater than four to one, Americans think the price of gas is more likely to hit $5 per gallon than drop to $3 per gallon, according to poll results released last week by Survey USA. With a rash of stories about how drivers are changing their habits appearing this month, the three-question survey lends weight to the argument that demand for gas drops noticeably once consumers firmly believe prices will remain high.

Also worth noting, nearly two-thirds of respondents say they have at least pondered the prospect of cutting back on driving in the face of escalating fuel costs. The number of Americans who can pull off that lifestyle change may be higher than you think: Fifteen percent live near a convenient transit alternative, according to the poll. With national transit mode share chugging upwards from the single digits, the results indicate that current infrastructure may have to carry significantly more passengers in the near future.

Taking a longer view, if fifteen percent is a rough approximation of the current ceiling for transit mode share, the need to expand access could not be more stark. But when it comes to reducing car dependence, congressional leaders are still sticking their heads in the sand.