Chicago, Illinois – A survey by Cars.com of U.S. vehicle owners finds that drivers are changing their buying and driving habits based on the rising cost of fuel.
In the survey, 66 per cent of respondents said they drive less today because of record gas prices, while 76 per cent are cutting back in other areas to compensate for fuel prices, with entertainment, dining out, recreation and groceries being the areas most likely to be cut, in that order.
Some consumers say they are willing to sacrifice some creature comforts to increase fuel efficiency, including vehicle size and acceleration, but most don’t want to pay a lot more for efficiency. More than 80 per cent said the government isn’t doing enough to mandate better fuel efficiency standards, and that the automakers aren’t doing enough to make current vehicles more fuel-efficient.
“Unfortunately, gas prices change a lot faster than manufacturers or the government can effectively make changes to bring more fuel-efficient cars to the market,” said Patrick Olsen, editor-in-chief of Cars.com. “Most manufacturers, most notably the Big Three, were SUV-happy in the ’90s when gas prices were low and consumers couldn’t get enough of them. Now that gas prices are breaking records, manufacturers are rapidly trying to bring more fuel-efficient vehicles to market in order to meet consumer demand, as well as stricter government fuel-efficiency standards that need to be met by 2020. With gas prices continuing to break records, the changes can’t take place fast enough.”
Among consumers polled, 23 per cent said they carpooled more, 12 per cent use public transportation, 11 per cent rid bicycles and 7 per cent have joined a car-sharing service.