The study looked at 40,000 mortgages in Chicago, Jacksonville and San Francisco, and also used data from the Center for Neighborhood Technology.
"The link became more obvious in looking at foreclosures after July 2008, when gas spiked over $4 a gallon, said CNT President Scott Bernstein, who studied foreclosures in the Chicago area. Bernstein found that gas price spikes provide an "early warning" of a rise in foreclosures in car-dependent communities.
'Nobody should be surprised this is happening,' said Bernstein, noting that the cost of a gallon of gas doubled between 2000 and 2008. 'In the suburbs, two or three cars and all that driving can cost more than the mortgage,' Bernstein said. 'If gas prices go up, some percentage of people will find those pressures to be too much.'"