New survey data from AAA finds that drivers are making significant changes to cope with record pump prices. Almost two-thirds (64%) of U.S. adults have changed their driving habits or lifestyle since March, with 23% making “major changes.” Drivers’ top three changes to offset high gas prices are driving less, combining errands, and reducing shopping or dining out. More changes are shown in the table below:
In March 2022, AAA released gas survey data examining the pump prices Americans would view as too expensive. At that time, over half (59%) said they would change their driving habits or lifestyle if the cost of gas rose to $4 per gallon. If gas were to reach $5.00, which it did in June, three-quarters said they would need to adjust their lifestyle to offset the spike at the pump. At that time, among Americans who said they would make changes in response to higher gas prices, a majority (80%) said they would opt to drive less. The new AAA survey reaffirms these driving habit changes.
While many Americans are adapting their daily habits to make up for higher gas prices, it also affects their future travel plans. Many Americans have postponed taking a vacation this year. With gas prices remaining volatile for the foreseeable future, consumers will likely be paying higher prices than in previous years. AAA offers the following advice to help drivers ease some of the pain they’re feeling at the pump:
Keep your vehicle in top shape with routine inspections and in between, make sure your tires are properly inflated. Underinflated tires are a drag on fuel economy.
Map your route before you go to minimize unnecessary turnarounds and backtracking. Avoid peak traffic times and, if possible, go to “one-stop shops” where you can do multiple tasks (banking, shopping, etc.).
Fuel economy peaks at around 50 mph on most cars, then drops off as speeds increase. Reducing highway speeds by 5 to 10 mph can improve fuel economy by as much as 14%.
Only use premium gas in vehicles that recommend or require it. Paying for premium gas for a car that takes regular is a waste of money and is of no benefit to the vehicle.
To find the best gas price in your area, use the AAA Mobile App – Android I iPhone.
If traveling this summer, know that flights, car rentals, accommodations, tours, cruises, and other activities are in high demand, and availability may be limited. Finding last-minute deals may be challenging, so plan ahead and look for discounts and rewards, usually available through a membership like AAA. This is also another time when travel agents are a great resource since they may know of a deal that may not be readily available to the public.
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