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Gas prices alter ways of drivers

Americans are changing their driving habits because of rising gasoline prices, according to a new McClatchy Newspapers-Marist poll released Wednesday.

They blame violence in the Middle East or oil companies for the sticker shock at the gas pump, the poll found. Few blame government -- though there's confusion about President Obama's policy toward Libya.

"Americans have certainly noticed the gas prices, and most drivers are saying they're changing their driving habits. This is an issue that strikes close to home," said Lee Miringoff, the director of the Marist Institute for Public Opinion at Marist College, which conducted the nationwide poll from April 10 to 14.

"There's plenty of blame to go around," he said.

Drivers said by 55-45 percent they're changing their habits as gas tops $4 a gallon in many parts of the country. Most likely to drive less? Those making less than $50,000 a year, who said so by 65-35 percent.

Least likely? College graduates, by 59-41 percent, and those making more than $50,000 annually, by 56-44 percent.

Drivers split their blame, with 36 percent pointing at the Middle East and 33 percent blaming oil companies. Only 11 percent blame Obama and Democrats, while 6 percent blame congressional Republicans.

On Libya, by 57-42 percent, Americans said they don't have a clear idea of what the United States is doing there.