AAA: High gas prices no longer fueling decline in American driving

AAA: High gas prices no longer fueling decline in American driving

April 7, 2014 Updated Apr 7, 2014 at 12:53 PM CDT

(AAA news release) Americans have grown significantly less likely to change their driving habits or lifestyle to offset gas prices, according to a new survey by AAA.

According to an AAA news release issued this month:

Only half of U.S. adults (53 percent) are doing something to offset gas prices, which is about 15 percent less than in spring 2013. This development comes as gas prices continue to be relatively less expensive compared to previous years.

“Many people seem to be feeling less pressure to make significant changes in their lives on account of high gas prices,” said Bob Darbelnet, President and CEO of AAA. “Less expensive gasoline may encourage people to drive more and worry less about the financial burden of filling up their tanks.”

Gasoline demand increased 1.1 percent in 2013, which was the largest annual increase since 2006, according to the Energy Information Administration. Vehicle miles traveled in 2013 similarly increased an estimated 18.1 billion miles, according to the Federal Highway Administration.

Gas prices generally have remained less expensive than in previous years due to increased production and supplies. The national average price of gas 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.

“People may be less likely to change their habits, but they do not seem any happier at the pumps,” continued Darbelnet. “Many drivers grudgingly realize that paying more than $3.00 per gallon for gasoline is the new normal, but they remain frustrated with the price.”