WASHINGTON – The pinch at the pump is starting to feel more like a punch for a growing number of Americans.
With gas prices soaring, almost two-thirds of those surveyed for an AP-AOL poll expect fuel costs will cause them financial hardship in coming months. That was sharply higher than in April, when about half felt that way.
Crude oil prices (search) reached a record high of more than $66 a barrel Friday. That's almost 50 percent higher than a year ago.
The average price of a gallon of regular gasoline was more than $2.40 per gallon at week's end, compared with $1.86 a year ago and about $2.21 in April, according to the auto club AAA.
The poll conducted for The Associated Press and America Online News (search) found that 64 percent say gas prices will cause money problems for them in the next six months, while 35 percent did not think so. In April, 51 percent expressed concerns about the cost of gas.
Those most likely to be worried about the financial impact are people with low incomes, the unemployed and minorities.
The AP-AOL survey of 1,000 adults was conducted Aug. 9-11 by Ipsos (search), an international polling firm. The survey has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.