When is the price of gasoline too high?

Drivers’ views of “too high” gasoline prices appears to be changing after seeing years of steady hikes at the pump.

According to a AAA survey, more than half of adults believe gasoline is too costly when it reaches $3.44 per gallon. Those adults are driving, buying and dining out less as a result of the higher prices.

“It was not long ago that motorists were shocked to pay more than $3 per gallon for gasoline, but now that is standard at stations nationwide,” said Robert L. Darbelnet, president and CEO of AAA. “Expensive prices have forced many motorists to change their driving habits.”

Gasoline is currently averaging $3.51 per gallon in the U.S. and $3.40 a gallon in Houston, which had the most expensive average in the state. Gasoline prices have declined 15 cents this month in Houston as demand dropped and supply increased domestically.

The AAA survey suggests drivers are not quite as fazed by gasoline topping $3 as they once were. The survey found 46 percent of participants believed $3 was too high to pay for gasoline.

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Drivers said those higher prices have made them adjust their habits by driving, dining and shopping less. The study found people between the ages of 18 to 34 were more likely to take public transit or live closer to work.

The survey comes after nearly five years of steady increases at the pump. Gasoline prices dropped below $2 in late 2008. Since then, gasoline prices have been on a steadily approaching the $4 mark.

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