Survey: 60% of consumers have cut back on driving due to higher gas price
NPD's motor fuels research shows that consumers have cut back on their gas purchases from a year ago, which means they are driving less.
According to the research firmâ€™s Motor Fuels Index, which continually tracks consumer motor fuel purchasing behaviors and attitudes, gallons purchased are down 1.2 percent from a year ago.
In addition, a consumer survey conducted by NPD in January 2011 to gauge what price level would be required to cause consumers to drive less suggests that at today's gas prices (national average is $3.79-a-gallon) approximately 60 percent of consumers are cutting back on driving now.
David Portalatin, industry analyst for automotive aftermarket business at NPD, said: â€œIf the current uptick in gas price is sustained, we can expect consumers to begin implementing some key changes like reducing or consolidating shopping trips, taking more mass transit, and carpooling.
â€œIn the case of a prolonged spike above $4.00, we'd expect even more significant changes like working from home, relocating or changing jobs, or driving a more fuel-efficient vehicle.â€
Based on recent history in 2008 when gas reached a high of $4.16-a-gallon, NPD research shows that drivers made significant changes in driving behavior including 49 percent who reduced or consolidated shopping trips, 29 percent cancelled or modified vacations, and 25 percent found alternate means of transportation including mass transit, carpooling, and riding a bike. These are the very changes consumers are likely implementing once again.
â€œIt comes down to the simple economics of share of wallet,â€ Portalatin says. â€œMost consumers have limitations in their budgets. If they are spending more on gas, they either need to cut down on their driving or spend less on other things. History has told us they begin by cutting down on their driving.â€
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