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Overcoming Shock at the Pump

Audio: Economist Meghan Busse says old habits likely to return once gas prices fall

May 9, 2011 | by Brendan Cosgrove

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EVANSTON, Ill. --- Gasoline prices continue to rise around the country, and experts say there is no indication they’ll be dropping anytime soon. But, has sticker shock at the pump changed the behavior of the average American consumer?

“We haven’t seen prices this high before,” said Meghan Busse, associate professor of management and strategy at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. “I have not seen as much hand wringing about high gasoline prices as I think we did during the run-up in 2008.”

In this audio Q&A, Busse, who specializes in energy economics, discusses how both consumers and the auto industry have adapted to higher gasoline prices. She speculates that while consumers may alter their behavior in the short term, they are likely to return to previous habits once gasoline prices start to fall.

Topics: Opinion