Costly Gas Is Altering US Driving Habits, AAA Says

(Bloomberg) — Americans are driving less, combining errands and shopping or dining out less since gasoline prices rallied in March, according to a survey by auto club AAA.

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A survey of 1,002 US adults last month showed 64% of Americans adapted their driving or lifestyle habits in response to high fuel prices. Of these, 88% said they drove less, 74% said they combined errands while more than half reduced shopping or restaurant visits. Many Americans have also postponed taking a vacation this year, according to the survey.

Slowing demand and a weaker global oil market drove average pump prices in the US lower for 41 straight days, including the single biggest weekly drop in almost 14 years. But at $4.355 a gallon, prices still are 38% higher than a year ago.

Lower pump prices alone may not be enough to get drivers back on the road as long as disposable income continues to lag, said Michelle Michot Foss, a fellow at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy in Houston.

“Lower prices will spur gasoline sales but more important are views on inflation, levels of confidence going forward,” Foss said.

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