Rae Serra, a University of Houston student, is very much aware gas prices have been going up. But she says there’s really not much she can do about it.
“It’s like no matter how far the price goes, I’m still always going to have to travel. But I mean, if it gets too high, I guess I’ll just start riding the bus.”
Average retail gasoline prices in Texas have risen almost three cents per gallon in the past week, averaging about $3.58 . The national average is almost twenty cents higher at $3.71.
University of Houston marketing professor Jackie Kacen says consumers tend not to notice price changes until there’s a big jump.
“Three eighty nine, $3.76, $3.98 — I’m still focused mostly on that 3. When I see $4.01, now I’m focused on the 4, that’s a noticeable change for me and I go, ‘Wow, when did gas prices go up so much?'”
In this case it’s hard not for people to notice because the price of gas is constantly in the media.
Professor Kacen says big changes in driving habits probably won’t happen any time soon despite price increases.
“In the short term I don’t see driving habits changing that much but again go back to what are my expectations for the future? If I see that gasoline prices are just going to continue to rise and continue to take a bigger chunk out of my household budget — what can I do to adjust?”
Will Thigher of Conroe says adjusting isn’t easy.
“Already trying to — I mean I’m trying to carpool to work as much as possible, avoid using my car as much as I possibly can.”
Houston’s Mellisa Doan says she hasn’t made any changes … yet
“Yeah, still doing everything pretty normal. I mean my cars my only transportation. I don’t really have a choice.”
Professor Kacen says Houston is a city made for the automobile. If cutbacks need to be made she believes people will do it in other areas — perhaps fewer movies or less eating out. She just returned from France where people ride scooters as much as they do cars. Kacen says don’t expect to see that in the U.S. anytime soon — especially Texas.