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Gas Prices Prompt Driving Changes

Todd PittengerDecember 1, 2021

High prices at the pump are prompting some Kansans to change their driving habits.

According to a recent AAA poll of Kansas drivers, 44% of them say they have changed their daily driving habits because of gas prices.

AAA Kansas says although gas prices have dipped slightly in the past week or so, pump prices in general are the highest they have been in seven years, prompting some drivers to consolidate errands, carpool or otherwise limit daily driving.

The national average has been above $3 a gallon since early May, mostly driven by the price of crude oil, which, until this past week, has been twice what it was last year.

Wednesday morning the national average for a gallon of regular unleaded was $3.38. The average in Kansas was $3.03 a gallon, while the average in Saline County was $3.08 a gallon.

News of the Omicron variant and related travel restrictions pushed the price of crude down, and the coordinated effort by the U.S. and other major oil-consuming countries to increase global supply with a strategic release of oil reserves may further reduce pump prices.

Here in Kansas, the average price of gas has also been above the $3 benchmark since mid October.

“More than a third – 37% – of Kansas drivers tell AAA that they typically change their driving behaviors when gas prices cross over the $3 benchmark,” said Shawn Steward, AAA Kansas spokesman. “And then an additional 20% say they would change their driving behaviors when gas tops $3.50.”

Interestingly, while 44% of Kansas drivers tell AAA they have changed their driving behaviors because of pump prices, 29% say they do not foresee changing their driving habits because of gas prices – even if gas prices were to climb above $4.00 a gallon.

AAA poll of Kansas drivers finds:

  • Forty-four percent (44%) of respondents say they are driving less or trying to drive less because of gas prices
  • Thirty-seven percent (37%) of drivers say they try to consolidate errands, carpool or otherwise drive less when the price of gas tops $3 a gallon.
  • Twenty percent more (20%) say they would try to consolidate errands, carpool or otherwise drive less if the price of gas topped $3.50 a gallon.
  • Thirteen percent (13%) more say they would try to consolidate errands, carpool or otherwise drive less if the price of gas were to reach $4 a gallon.
  • And twenty-nine percent (29%) say they do not foresee changing their driving habits because of gas prices.

AAA Kansas Offers 7 Tips for Saving Money on Gas:

  1. Slow down and drive the speed limit. On the highway, aerodynamic drag causes fuel economy to drop off significantly at speeds above 50 mph.
  2. Avoid extended idling to warm up the engine, even in winter. It’s unnecessary and wastes fuel.
  3. Use cruise control to help maintain a constant speed and save fuel. (However, never use cruise control on slippery roads because a loss of vehicle control could result.)
  4. Check tires for proper inflation monthly and keep up with basic vehicle maintenance recommendations to ensure fuel efficiency.
  5. Remove unnecessary and bulky items from your car. It takes more fuel to accelerate a heavier car
  6. Minimize your use of roof racks and remove special carriers when not in use. On the highway even an empty bike, canoe or ski rack can reduce fuel economy, and a loaded rack or car-top container will have a major effect on gas mileage.
  7. AAA research has found that unless premium fuel is recommended or required by your car’s manufacturer, it provides no added benefit. Motorists should refer to their vehicle owner’s manual to check which type of gasoline is recommended for their engine.

Copyright © Meridian Media, 2022. All Rights Reserved. No part of this story may be reproduced without Meridian Media’s express consent.

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