One-Third Of All U.S. Adults Struggle To Afford Their Car

Americans are prepared to give up activities they love and go into credit card debt to continue driving. Why? There are plenty of better alternatives.

Driving Costs

More than 36 percent of adult respondents said that if gas prices continue to rise, they’ll have to give something up in order to afford their car. Of those who regularly drive a vehicle, nearly one-in-four (23 percent) said it is at least somewhat likely that they will build up credit card debt to pay for gas in the upcoming months. Households with children (29 percent) are significantly more likely than those without children (19 percent) to indicate this.

When asked what they likely will do to better afford to drive a vehicle due to rising gas prices, survey takers said the following:

  • Dine out less often – 70 percent
  • Spend less money on entertainment (going out to the movies, attractions, concerts, etc…) – 64 percent
  • Postpone seasonal clothes shopping – 37 percent
  • Cancel paid online or other subscriptions (Netflix, Hulu Plus, etc…) – 22 percent

OK, let’s pretend for just a minute that I don’t have strong feelings about what or who is sticking it to the American people through gas prices while laughing all the way to the bank. Instead let’s focus on the amazing fact that people are willing to give up things that make them happy and allow them to spend quality time with their loved ones, just so they can keep driving that gas guzzler all over town.

WHY?! There are plenty of perfectly good ways to get around without owning a personal car. Alternatives like car sharing, bike commuting, ride sharing, walking, and public transportation are much cheaper and better for the planet too. The good news is, more people are becoming embracing these alternatives every day.

When asked how their driving habits would be affected by rising gas prices, U.S. adults who regularly drive a vehicle said the following:

  • Plan to drive less overall to save money – 61 percent
  • Plan to carpool – 9 percent
  • Plan to use public transportation – 8 percent
  • Plan to buy a hybrid/energy efficient vehicle – 6 percent
This is a good start, but the numbers need to be bigger. If you’re struggling to feed your car and your family, check out the resource below to learn more about alternatives to personal transportation. They’ll help you ride out the storm of rising gas prices (assuming they ever come back down) and who knows? You might just like them so much, you’ll never wanted to chain yourself to the pump again!

The Future Of Car Sharing Is Brighter Than You Think

Top 4 Peer-To-Peer Car Sharing Services

New Technology Turns Bike Rides Into Cash

Ride Sharing Makes It Cheaper To Get Home For The Holidays

Most Americans Would Rather Have A Walkable Neighborhood Than A Big House

Tips And Resources For Biking To Work (Even When It’s Hot)

This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of CouponCabin from March 6th – March 8th, 2012 among 2,254 U.S. adults ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore, no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact: Allison Nawoj,

Image Credit: Flickr – Images_Of_Money

Written by Beth Buczynski

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