[image-1]Regardless of what you may read elsewhere, it doesn’t appear that gas prices will keep people from evacuating this hurricane season.

An annual Harvard study of coastal residents (we covered it last year) asked for the first time whether people were concerned about having the money for gas — 39 percent said they were. While that number alone would lead some to suggest gas is a significant factor in people staying through a storm, the rest of the numbers don’t add up.

The survey also asks whether South Carolina residents will stay or leave if a major hurricane evacuation is ordered. In 2007, 26 percent said they’d stay (another 5 percent said it would depend). This year, in the face of these rising gas prices, only 22 percent said they’d stay through a storm (with 4 percent saying it would depend).

To be fair, among the reasons cited for staying, the generic “can’t afford to leave” went from 13 percent in 2007 to 19 percent this year. But it was still behind looting, unattended pets, work, beliefs home is structurally safe, traffic, and perceptions that evacuating is “dangerous.”