Gas Price Concern Hits Three-Year High

Since 2001, Gallup has polled Americans monthly on what they feel is the largest problem currently facing the United States. Results this month show concerns rooted in the economic state are higher than at any other point since 2009. Beginning in 2008 Americans’ concerns turned largely towards the economy in the wake of the country’s financial crisis. In February 2009 86% of respondents voiced some form of economic concern, the highest percentage to date. In May's poll the most frequently cited issues were the general state of the economy (35%) followed by unemployment rates (22%). According to Gallup, concern about the federal debt (17%) in April 2011 was at the highest it has been since 1996. Over the past month this concern has been cited less frequently, with percentage of respondents naming the federal deficit or debt down by 5%. In its May poll Gallup found concern about gas prices to be the highest it has been in almost three years, with 8% of respondents citing gas prices as the most important problem facing the country.

A poll by Pew Research Center and the Washington Post examined the current dissatisfaction with gas prices, asking respondents to express why they believe that gas prices have risen recently. The April 28-May 1 poll posed an open-ended question and respondents were asked to provide one answer. Nearly 1/3 of respondents blamed the soaring gas prices on some variation of oil companies’ greed. Nearly 1/5 of respondents pointed to current unrest throughout Libya and other states in the Middle East as the cause of rising gas prices.

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