July 29, 2004

High gas prices affect driving habits

Burnaby, B.C. – According to a survey of 501 British Columbia motorists conducted jointly by the British Columbia Automobile Association (BCAA) and Mustel Group Market Research, 50 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 addition, 38 per cent say high fuel prices have prompted them to consider switching to a more fuel efficient vehicle, 31 per cent have changed maintenance or driving practices to reduce consumption, and 27 per cent say they have altered their summer vacation plans to reduce the amount of driving required.

Of the drivers who have reduced their weekly car usage, 32 per cent say they try to combine trips rather than making multiple trips, 31 per cent say they have eliminated some trips altogether, and 30 per cent say they have started walking more. In addition, some say they are making more use of transportation alternatives such as carpooling (18 per cent), transit (15 per cent) and cycling (14 per cent).

“In the past, prices have tended to rise more gradually. The most recent
spike has been much more pronounced eliciting a stronger reaction and impact
on behaviour,” says Evi Mustel, President of Mustel Group.

Of the 250 drivers who have not reduced their driving, over half –
56 per cent – say they don’t know how much gas prices would have to go up
before they would decrease their driving.

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