This December motorists are not finding significant holiday savings at the gas pump.
“Although we are paying more at the pump than we have in recent years during this time, the good news is that we expect prices to decline through the end of 2017," AAA Carolinas Foundation for Traffic Safety President Tiffany Wright said. "High demand kept prices higher during the fall, but barring any unforeseen circumstances, prices should trickle down.”
As much as lower costs would be a nice holiday gift, motorists cannot control fluctuating gas prices. But they can control how they drive -- in turn potentially saving up to $477 a year on gas, according to gasbuddy.com. A recent GasBuddy study found that 78 percent of trips involve fuel-guzzling driving habits.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, aggressive driving like speeding, rapid acceleration and braking is the quickest way to waste gas and can lower gas mileage by as much as 40 percent.
GasBuddy, the smartphone app used by more than 70 million drivers, announced a new feature called Trips, which pinpoints exactly where and when drivers have been guilty of fuel-inefficient driving.
With the Trips feature, drivers can get an assessment of their trips based on a three-tier rating system — great, not bad, or not great. The summaries include the date, time and distance, and map out when and where during the trip a poor driving habit occurred, whether it be speeding, hard braking or acceleration.
“Our goal is to help people make smart decisions when they’re on the road, from providing real-time gas prices to which stations have the cleanest restrooms,” said Levi Hamilton, head of product, consumer experience, at GasBuddy. “The new Trips feature provides motorists with transparency on how they’re driving and, in turn, impacting their wallets. In our initial testing, we found that Trips is already improving our users’ driving habits and helping them save more money.”
Beyond saving money, the other good thing about being aware of gas-guzzling driving habits is changing them in the name of safety.
The latest numbers on highway fatalities in South Carolina are testament as to why curbing aggressive driving and speeding are priorities.
Six more people died on South Carolina roads this past weekend, raising the death toll in the state to 914 for 2017. That is down from 966 a year ago but still is horrific. The totals mean more than two people a day are killed on South Carolina highways.
Locally, Orangeburg County’s deaths total 26, down three from this time a year ago. Calhoun County has had five deaths compared to eight in 2017. Bamberg County’s toll is four, down from seven.
The remainder of the year likely holds more tragedy as the holiday season is historically a time of more highway accidents and fatalities as travel increases and behavior such as driving under the influence escalates.
GasBuddy promoted its new app by contending that if you drive like a manic, it costs you.
The price could be a lot higher than the cost per gallon of gas.