AAA: High Gas Prices No Longer Fueling A Decline In American Driving

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By: Joe Hellriegel

"Hard to afford right now," said Justin Manac.

"They are very high, they're outrageous," said Sadie Morris.

Drivers are noticing the continuation of rising gas prices across the southeast.

"I hate the fluctuation of them. Last week I was paying $3.33 for gas, and this week I'm paying like $3.54," said Caleb Demember.

"I would like to see them come down and stay within a certain range. It's like some mornings I get up and it's one price and by the afternoon it's another price," said Morris.

Drivers said they think the gas prices are high, but they also said they aren't changing their habits once they get behind the wheel.

A new AAA survey shows there is a 15% decline of Americans changing their driving habits since Spring of 2013, down to 53%.

"It's not going to change anything, I'm still going to ride just as much and get out and about," said Morris.

"I'm just going about my day going to work and everything and driving back from work," said Manac.

The national average price of gas is $3.57 a gallon according to AAA, compared to $3.65 in Florida and $3.47 in Georgia.

News Release: AAA

TAMPA, Fla. (April 3, 2014) – Gas prices continue inching up in the southeastern United States and a new AAA survey shows most people believe that gas prices are too high.

According to the survey:

  • 40 percent believe gas is too high when the price reaches $3.00 per gallon

  • 50 percent believe gas is too high when the price reaches $3.30 per gallon

  • 65 percent believe gas is too high when the price reaches $3.50 per gallon

  • 91 percent believe gas is too high when the price reaches $4.00 per gallon

“People do not seem happy at the price they see at the pump,” said Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “Although they remain frustrated, our findings show that many drivers grudgingly accept that paying more than $3.00 per gallon for gasoline is the new normal.”

Despite their displeasure with prices at the pump, roughly half (53%) of Americans are changing their driving habits or lifestyle to offset gas prices, a 15 percent decline from spring 2013. Those doing so report:

  • Combining errands or trips: 85 percent

  • Driving less: 84 percent

  • Reducing shopping or dining out: 68 percent

  • Delaying major purchases: 52 percent

  • Driving a more fuel-efficient vehicle: 49 percent

  • Putting aside less money for savings: 42 percent

  • Working closer to home: 41 percent

  • Carpooling: 30 percent

  • Using public transportation more regularly: 17 percent

  • Other: 15 percent

Younger adults ages 18-34 were significantly more likely to offset prices than older adults by working closer to home (60 percent vs. 34 percent), carpooling (49 percent vs. 23 percent) and using public transportation more regularly (32 percent vs. 11 percent). These results show a potential generational gap regarding gas prices and behavior.

“Gas prices in some states are currently in line with what motorists were paying at the pump this time last year,” said Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “While they could continue trending upward for the next couple of weeks, prices are expected to remain well below their peak price in recent years.”

Gas prices generally have remained less expensive than in previous years due to increased production and supplies nationwide. The national average price of gas, currently $3.57, may not even reach $3.65 per gallon this spring, which would be nearly 15 cents less than the peak in 2013 and about 30 cents less than in 2012.

About the Survey
AAA conducted a telephone survey among two national probability samples (landline only and cell phone), consisting of a combined total of 1,011 adults (508 men and 503 women), 18 years of age and older and living in the continental United States. Interviewing for this survey was conducted on March 6-9. The total included 610 interviews from the landline sample and 401 interviews from the cell phone sample. This study has a 95 percent margin of error of ±3.7 percent.

About AAA – The Auto Club Group
The Auto Club Group (ACG) is the second largest AAA club in North America. ACG and its affiliates provide membership, travel, insurance and financial services offerings to approximately 8.8 million members across 11 states and two U.S. territories including Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, North Dakota, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands; most of Illinois and Minnesota; and a portion of Indiana. ACG belongs to the national AAA federation with nearly 54 million members in the United States and Canada and whose mission includes protecting and advancing freedom of mobility and improving traffic safety.

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