HARDSHIP and DRIVING -- At 71 percent, the number of Americans who report hardship as a result of gas prices rivals its peak in ABC / Post polls, 77 percent in the summer of 2008, when gas peaked at more than $4 a gallon after a sharp 16-month run-up. Then as now, many Americans said they were driving less. In August 2008 the government reported 15 billion fewer miles driven vs. a year previously, down 6 percent.
In this survey, 58 percent say they're driving less now as a result of has prices. People who aren't driving less give a median price of $5 as the point at which they, too, will cut back on the amount of driving they do. (Some high-spenders boost the average, rather than the median, to $5.47.)
Gas prices, naturally, are hitting hardest among lower-income Americans. Sixty percent of those with household incomes below $35,000 report serious hardship, compared with only 22 percent among those with incomes over $100,000.
METHODOLOGY -- This ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted by telephone April 14-17, 2011, among a random national sample of 1,001 adults, including landline and cell-phone-only respondents. Results have a margin of sampling error of 3.5 points. The survey was produced for ABC News by Langer Research Associates of New York, N.Y, with sampling, data collection and tabulation by TNS of Horsham, Pa.