Friday, June 6, 2008

How We Live - The Impact of $4 Gas & Inflation

What Is Happening?

The end of cheap food
- In the past five years, gasoline prices have jumped 250 percent, according to data from the U.S. Department of Energy.
- At current prices, driving behavior translates to an average annual gasoline bill of $1,780, or $1,000 more than what the bill would have been five years ago.
- The U.S. is wrestling with the worst food inflation in 17 years

- U.S. food prices rose 4 percent in 2007, compared with an average 2.5 percent annual rise for the last 15 years, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. And the agency says 2008 could be worse, with a rise of as much as 4.5 percent.

What We Eat Is Changing
As consumers balk at the rising cost of groceries, homeowners increasingly are cutting out sections of lawn and retiring flower beds to grow their own food. They're building raised vegetable beds, turning their spare time over to gardening, and doing battle with insect pests.
The Vegetable Patch Takes Root

How Much We Drive Is Changing
The surge in gasoline prices is pushing more private employers as well as local governments to offer a four-day week as a perk that eliminates two commutes a week.

Some 44 percent of respondents said they have changed the way they commute -- doing things such as sharing a ride or driving a more fuel-efficient car -- or are working from home or looking for a closer job in order to reduce gasoline costs, according to staffing services company Robert Half International. That's up from 34 percent two years ago.
Workers shifting to 4-day week to save gasoline

What We Drive Is Changing
Sales of GM's midsize Chevrolet Malibu shot up 40 percent, but the sales of the long-popular Chevrolet TrailBlazer SUV collapsed, falling 73 percent
SUV and Truck Sales Plunge

How We Vacation Is Changing
Most Americans expect record gasoline prices to cause them financial problems and affect their vacation plans, a new USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll shows.
Poll: Gas prices hurting summer vacation plans

The Numbers Are Getting Bigger
42 percent of respondents strongly agreed that they will drive less.
39 percent will change vacation plans.
38 percent will spend less money in restaurants and on entertainment.
38 percent will drive more smoothly to increase fuel mileage.
36 percent reported that they will have more difficulty paying for essentials like food and health care

Consumer Reports Survey

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