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The Effects of Gasoline Costs On U.S. Residents 50+

This and Related Reports

Rising gasoline costs are forcing changes in the lives of older Americans. In a recent AARP poll of U.S. residents age 50 and older (conducted August 24 through 28) half of the 1,069 respondents (50%) say that they have limited their daily driving because of gas prices. This percentage rose to 62% in a second survey of 568 respondents 50+ conducted in September shortly after Hurricane Katrina hit the U.S. and gas prices spiked still higher.

Other survey findings of changes in the lives of older Americans because of rising gasoline costs are:

  • Limited travel or vacations (47% post-Katrina, 40% pre-Katrina)

  • Reduced visits with family and friends (39% post-Katrina, 31% pre-Katrina)

  • Reduced saving (40% post-Katrina, 39% pre-Katrina)

  • Reduced spending in other areas (41% post-Katrina, 38% pre-Katrina)

One in ten say they are limiting or doing without telecommunications (10%) or food (13%). Slightly fewer say they are limiting or doing without medical services (8%) or prescription drugs (7%). Not surprisingly, Americans 50+ reporting a yearly household income under $25,000 are significantly more likely than those of higher income to say they have limited or done without telecommunications, food, medical services, or prescription drugs because of the soaring gasoline prices.

The two national telephone surveys were conducted by International Communications Research for AARP. The report was written by Jean Koppen, AARP Knowledge Management, who may be contacted for more information at 202-434-6311. (6 pages)

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