Online survey shows two-thirds of people driving less because of gas prices

Jan. 1, 2020
Gas prices are climbing higher, and one recent survey shows that driving habits ? and other activities ? are affected. In a recent Cars.com survey on gas prices and their effect on consumers' buying and driving habits, 66 percent of respondents said
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Gas prices are climbing higher, and one recent survey shows that driving habits – and other activities – are affected.

In a recent Cars.com survey on gas prices and their effect on consumers’ buying and driving habits, 66 percent of respondents said they drive less today because of record gas prices. Even more, 76 percent, said they are cutting back in other areas of their household budget to compensate for increased fuel costs, with entertainment (81 percent), dining out (80 percent), recreation (67 percent) and groceries (30 percent) being the areas most likely cut.

According to the survey, some consumers say they are willing to sacrifice some creature comforts, like vehicle size and acceleration, to increase fuel efficiency, but most don’t want to pay a lot more for efficiency. The vast majority (more than 80 percent) say the government isn’t doing enough to mandate better fuel-efficiency standards and automakers aren’t doing enough to make current vehicles more fuel-efficient.

“Unfortunately, gas prices change a lot faster than manufacturers or the government can effectively make changes to bring more fuel-efficient cars to the market,” said Cars.com editor-in-chief Patrick Olsen. “Most manufacturers, most notably the Big Three, were SUV-happy in the ‘90s when gas prices were low and consumers couldn’t get enough of them. Now that gas prices are breaking records, manufacturers are rapidly trying to bring more fuel-efficient vehicles to market in order to meet consumer demand, as well as stricter government fuel-efficiency standards that need to be met by 2020. With gas prices continuing to break records the changes can’t take place fast enough.”

Many consumers are simply seeking alternative modes of transportation, with 23 percent stating they carpool more, 12 percent saying they take public transportation, 11 percent riding bikes and 7 percent having joined a car-sharing service.

The survey was conducted online for Cars.com by Impulse Research Corp. with a random sample of 1,033 men and women 18 and older who own cars. The survey audience was carefully selected to closely match U.S. population demographics, and the respondents are representative of American men and women 18 and older. The overall sampling error rate for this survey is plus or minus 3 percent.

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