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The Five Changes Drivers Will Make If Gas Prices Rise This Summer

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Nearly a quarter of consumers believe the price at the pump is already too high, according to a recent AAA survey. The organization projects the national average for a gallon of gasoline to increase 40 cents this summer, peaking near $2.70.

More than 70 percent of consumers say they would make everyday lifestyle of driving habit changes to offset the increase in gas prices, about a 70-cent increase from this time last year. The top five changes that drivers would make are:

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

Not all drivers will immediately make a change. Younger Americans ages 18-34 are more tolerant of higher prices and less likely to change their habits compared to consumers age 35 and older, the survey found.

"Higher gas prices are already influencing the travel industry," said Bill Sutherland, senior vice president of travel and publishing for AAA. "The good news is people are still planning to hit the road. 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 the month of April, drivers across the United States will see gas prices begin to climb as the industry concludes spring maintenance and switches 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, AAA said. When gas prices are above the $3 benchmark, as they were in 2013 and 2014, Americans believe prices should be 6 percent lower. When gas prices are below the $3 benchmark, as they were in 2015 and 2016, Americans believe a 25 percent increase is too high.

The AAA report is based on the findings of a telephone survey of 1,017 adults that was completed on Feb. 2-5, 2017.

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