Americans still think gas prices are rising (but they’re not)

Most Americans (59%) think gas prices are rising in recent weeks (even though they aren’t), according to the Ipsos Consumer Tracker

The author(s)
  • Matt Carmichael What the Future editor and head of the Ipsos Trends and Foresight Lab
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Chart showing that Americans think gas prices are risingThe Ipsos Consumer Tracker asks Americans questions about culture, the economy and the forces that shape our lives. Here's one thing we learned this week.

Why we asked about gas prices: Mostly we hadn’t checked in on this in a few months. But also, because gas prices in California were making news as they rose near $6 a gallon.

What we found: While most Americans (59%) think gas prices are rising in recent weeks, they really aren’t. According to GasBuddy, prices are down roughly 14 cents from a month ago and a quarter from a year ago.  A whopping 74% in the West region think prices are rising as gas in California crested near $6 a gallon before starting to fall over the past week. California is still the only state with average prices above $5. Overall, three in five people thinking prices are rising is about where we were a year ago, in Wave 63 of the Tracker. At that point, prices had just started dropping after a two-year run of increases post-pandemic, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

People with higher incomes were more likely (70%) to say prices were rising. Some theories: They’re more likely to own bigger SUVs or trucks. And California over-indexes on high-income households. Also, the West also includes more pick-up driving states. Related: It’s a good time to be an EV driver. Most Americans say they are unlikely to buy an EV in recent Yahoo! Finance polling, though high gas prices could shift that. And that stagnation comes at the worst possible time.

More insights from this wave of the Ipsos Consumer Tracker:

We think entertainment is costing more, and higher ticket prices are impacting our behavior

Here's what mixed signals in personal debt look like

Our holiday shopping attitudes are quite consistent

The Ipsos Care-o-Meter: What does America know about vs. what does America care about?

See the full data and methodology here.

The author(s)
  • Matt Carmichael What the Future editor and head of the Ipsos Trends and Foresight Lab

Society