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Study: Drivers not changing habits because of higher gas prices

Consumers are no longer changing their driving habits because of fuel prices, according to an AAA study released Thursday.
by Adam Wilmoth Modified: April 4, 2014 at 4:00 pm •  Published: April 3, 2014

As gasoline prices have bounced rapidly over the past few years, Dan Lindsay has made little change to his driving habits.

“You still have to go to work, and you still have to do what you need to do,” said Lindsay, who lives in Oklahoma City and works in Edmond.

As prices have surged over the past six years, Lindsay has paid attention, but he said there is little he can do to change the distance he has to drive.

“If anything, it makes you think about vehicle purchases,” he said. “I don’t think my driving habits have changed much, but I won’t buy a full-size pickup because of gasoline prices.”

Lindsay is typical of a growing number of Americans, according to an AAA survey released Thursday.

The study found that Americans have become less likely to change their driving habits or lifestyle because of gas prices. About half of American adults are doing something to offset gas prices, down about 15 percent from one year ago.

“We’ve just all matured to the point where we realize high gas prices are here to stay,” AAA Oklahoma spokesman Chuck Mai said. “It’s not what we want to see happen, but I think we realize that given the nature of global oil supplies and geopolitics involved, it’s what we can expect.”

Of the half of the survey respondents who said they are changing their driving habits, most said they are doing so by combining errands, driving less and reducing shopping or dining out.

“When prices rose to $3.96 in July 2008, that got our attention,” Mai said. “Then finally all those lessons of conservation were taken to heart. I’m not saying we’re forgetting about those things now. We’re doing what we can to stretch our fuel dollars, but we’re taking longer trips and driving more now than we have over the past few years.”

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by Adam Wilmoth
Energy Editor
Adam Wilmoth returned to The Oklahoman as energy editor in 2012 after working for four years in public relations. He previously spent seven years as a business reporter at The Oklahoman, including five years covering the state's energy sector....
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