How are drivers riding out high gas prices to minimize pain to their pocketbooks? They’re driving less, combining errands, and dining out less than before, says a new AAA survey examining changing driving habits.
The new survey reports 64% of US adults have changed their lifestyles since last March, with 23% saying they’ve made significant changes to cope with high gas prices.
The survey was conducted June 23-27, and while prices dropped significantly in the last month, they’re still more than $1 higher than this time last year.
Here’s what drivers, who said they’ve made lifestyle changes, report:
- 88% say they’re driving less
- 74% are combining errands
- 56% are shopping/dining out less
- 30% are delaying major purchases
- 29% are postponing vacations
- 24% are saving less money
- 16% are carpooling
- 13% are driving a more efficient vehicle
- 5% are using public transportation
- 2% are switching to an electric vehicle
This study reaffirms what drivers said in a AAA survey last March. At the time, more than half of the respondents said they’d change their driving habits when gas hit $4 a gallon, while 75% planned to adjust their lifestyle at $5 a gallon.
The results support Energy Information Administration data, which also reported lower gas use in the second quarter of this year, compared last year’s second quarter.
“Gas prices may be dropping now, but the market remains volatile,” said Fran Mayko, AAA Northeast spokeswoman. “We’ll likely continue to pay higher prices this year compared to last for a while.”
To reduce the pinch to your pocketbook, AAA suggests:
- Maintaining your vehicle and properly inflating your tires.
- Mapping your route to minimize unnecessary travel.
- Reduce highway speeds by at least 5 miles per hour to improve fuel economy.
- Only use premium gas if your vehicle requires it.
- Use travel agents who have access to deals not readily available to the public to book flights, car rentals, accommodations, cruises, and tours.