Drivers change habits to offset gasoline prices, reports AAA

UTIC — New AAA survey data finds drivers are making significant changes to cope with higher gas prices.

Nearly two-thirds (64%) of American adults have changed their driving habits or lifestyle since March, with 23% describing themselves as making “major changes.”

The top three driver changes to offset high gas prices are:

  • Drive less;
  • Combine errands; Y
  • Cut back on shopping or dining out.

In March, AAA released gas survey data examining prices for pumps that Americans would view as too expensive. At that time, more than half of those surveyed (59%) said they would change their driving or lifestyle habits if the cost of gas rose to $4 a gallon. If gasoline hit $5, which it did in June, three-quarters said they would have to adjust their lifestyle to make up for the increase at the pump. At the time, among Americans who said they would make changes in response to higher gas prices, the majority (80%) said they would choose to drive less. The new AAA survey reaffirms these changes in driving habits.

While many Americans are adjusting their daily habits to offset higher gas prices, it’s also affecting their future travel plans. Many Americans have postponed taking vacations this year. With gas prices remaining volatile for the foreseeable future, consumers are likely to pay higher prices than in previous years.

AAA offers the following tips to help drivers alleviate some of the pain they feel at the pump:

  • Keep your vehicle in top condition with routine inspections and timely maintenance;
  • Make sure your tires are properly inflated. Under-inflated tires are a drag on fuel economy;
  • Map your route before you go to minimize unnecessary changes of direction and backtracking;
  • Avoid rush hour traffic and, if possible, go to “one-stop shops” where you can multitask (banking, shopping, etc.);
  • Fuel economy peaks at around 50 mph on most cars, then drops off as speed increases. Reducing highway speed by 5 to 10 mph can improve fuel economy by up to 14%;
  • Only use premium gasoline in vehicles that recommend or require it. Paying for premium gasoline for a car that you consume regularly is a waste of money and does not benefit the vehicle.

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