Higher gas prices and the weaker economy are cutting into corporate IT spending, which dropped to a seven year-low this summer, according to ChangeWave.

In a survey of nearly 2,000 IT workers by the Rockville, Md.-based research firm, 30 percent said their departments spent less than anticipated this year, up from 27 percent in a similar survey earlier this year. Another 30 percent said they were anticipating further declines in IT spending in the months ahead, while nearly 40 percent said they don't expect spending to pick up before next year.

Most blamed the declines on higher gas prices, as well as the upcoming presidential election.

The sharp downturn follows steady IT spending earlier this year, according to ChangeWave founder Tobin Smith. He said the last comparable downturn was in August 2001, in the middle of a recession.