Gas prices are too damn high

gas pricesA new AAA survey reveals that nearly a quarter of consumers believe gas prices are already too high and consumers will likely adjust their driving habits accordingly.  AAA projects the national average for a gallon of gasoline to increase by about 40 cents this summer, peaking near $2.70.

To offset the increase in gas prices, more than 70 percent of consumers say they would make everyday lifestyle or driving habit changes. The top five changes drivers would make include:

  • Combining errands or trips
  • Driving less
  • Reducing shopping or dining out
  • Delaying major purchases
  • Carpooling

However, not everyone will jump to make a change. The survey found that younger Americans (18-34) are more tolerant of higher prices and less likely to change habits compared to older consumers (35 and older).

“Even with rising gas prices ahead of summer, people are still planning to hit the road for a summer vacation,” said Martha Mitchell Meade, Manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA. “With nearly 80 percent of family travelers planning a road trip this year, higher gas prices are making shorter trips to national parks and theme parks the most desired travel destinations.”

During April, Americans across the country will start to see gas prices begin to climb as the industry wraps up spring maintenance and completes the switchover to summer-blend gasoline. Over the years, public opinion for whether a gallon of gasoline is too high or too low has fluctuated as much as the price itself.

  • When gas prices are above the $3.00 benchmark (as they were in 2013 and 2014), Americans believe prices should be six percent lower.
  • When gas prices are below the $3.00 benchmark (as they were in 2015 and 2016), Americans believe a 25 percent increase is too high.

Virginia, one of the lowest places in the country to buy gasoline (eighth lowest as of 3/27/2017), saw very little movement in gas prices over the last 30 days. As of Monday, March 27th, 2017, the price of a gallon of gasoline was $2.10 on average in the Commonwealth, unchanged since last month and 20 cents higher than a year ago.

“Gas prices have actually stalled when they normal begin to tick up during the spring refinery maintenance season, said Meade.  “Luckily for consumers the price of oil has kept a ceiling on rising gas prices thus far, though that will likely soon change ahead of summer vacations.”

AAA tips for saving on gasoline

  1. Accelerate gradually. Avoid jackrabbit starts.
  2. Anticipate your stops. When approaching a red light, let your foot off the gas as early as possible.
  3. Avoid long warm-ups in the morning as they are unnecessary and waste fuel.
  4. Use air conditioning. Today’s air conditioners create less drag on the engine than driving with the windows open.
  5. Maintain recommended tire pressure. Low pressure reduces fuel economy and can damage tires.
  6. Keep the air filter clean. Clogged filters reduce fuel economy and increase exhaust emissions.
  7. Slow down. If you travel at 60 mph instead of 70 mph on your 20-mile highway commute, you would save about 1.3 gallons of gas in a five-day work week.
  8. Combine errands. If possible, park in a central spot and walk from place to place.
  9. Don’t use your trunk for storage. The heavier your car, the more fuel it uses.
  10. Shop around for the best price. Gas prices can vary tremendously, which means it can pay to use the AAA mobile app to find the cheapest gas station near you.

This report presents the findings of a telephone survey conducted among two national probability samples (landline only and cell phone), which, when combined, consists of 1,017 adults, 510 men and 507 women, 18 years of age and older, living in the continental United States. Interviewing for this survey was completed on February 2-5, 2017. 517 interviews were from the landline sample and 500 interviews from the cell phone sample. This study has an average statistical error of ±3.1 percent at the 95 percent confidence level for all U.S. adults.


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