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    Americans Cut Back, Assess Blame for High Gas Prices

    Industry profits, crude prices and Mideast instability seen as great influencers.

    NEW YORK -- Half of Americans who own a vehicle say they have cut back on products and/or services to pay the increased price of gasoline, according to The Harris Poll.

    Those with lower household incomes are more impacted. Almost two-thirds (65 percent) of those with a household income of less than $35,000 a year have cut back on products or services because of higher gas prices, compared to 38 percent of those with a household income of $100,000 or more, according to the survey of 2,184 adults conducted online from May 9 to 16.

    There are many things people are cutting back on because of high gas prices. Almost three in 10 of those scaling back have cut back on dining out, while one-quarter have cut back on groceries. One in five say they have cut back on entertainment, while others have reduced driving or are staying home more (11 percent) and cut back on clothing purchases (10 percent).

    Other things people have cut back on include personal grooming, such as haircuts or manicures (6 percent); auto repairs and upkeep (5 percent); and movies (5 percent). Five percent said they have cut back on everything to pay for the increased price of gasoline.

    In looking at who's to blame for the rising cost of gasoline, three things seem to stand out as having the most influence on price. Just under one-quarter said U.S. oil and natural gas industry profits have had the greatest influence on rising gasoline prices, while 22 percent believe it is the world's crude oil prices and 21 percent believe it's due to instability in oil-producing areas.

    So, who can best stop rising gas prices? One-third said the oil and gas industry, while three in 10 believe the federal government can best stop rising gasoline prices, according to Harris Interactive. One in five believe consumers can stop rising gas prices, while 4 percent said state and local governments. Three percent said the automotive industry could help and 12 percent are not sure.

     

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