July 28, 2005

High fuel prices driving motorists to reduce costs, says BCAA

Burnaby, British Columbia – High fuel prices continue to have an effect on driver behaviour, but not to the same degree as in 2004 when gasoline reached as much as a dollar a litre, according to a survey conducted jointly by the British Columbia Automobile Association (BCAA) and Mustel Group Research.

The province-wide survey of 500 motorists reveals that 44 per cent of B.C. drivers have reduced the amount of driving they do in an average week, to compensate for higher fuel prices. In 2004, half the respondents said they had cut back on their driving. Twenty-four per cent changed their vehicle maintenance or driving practices, down from 31 per cent in 2004. While 27 per cent altered their summer vacation plans to reduce driving in 2004, only 17 per cent did so in 2005.

The survey also suggests that gasoline-buying habits are swayed by cost. Fifty-six per cent delayed filling up the tank in the hopes prices might subside, while 35 per cent said they drive out of their way to find a station with lower prices.

A total of 16 per cent of motorists have already switched to more fuel-efficient vehicles; an additional 17 per cent would be very likely to switch if prices increased to $1.25 per litre; an additional 29 per cent at $1.50 per litre; and an additional 37 per cent if gas reached $1.75. Among other alternatives, 36 per cent have eliminated some trips altogether; 35 per cent have started walking more; 34 per cent combine trips rather than make multiple trips; and others use carpooling, transit and cycling.

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