When it comes to filling-up at the pump, Americans are changing their perception of what they consider “too expensive.”
AAA’s 2019 Gas Price survey found that 50% of consumers think paying $3 per gallon is too high – an increase of 30 cents from last year when half of consumers reported $2.70 as too expensive. 2019’s price point is also 50 cents more than in 2016, when half of consumers thought $2.50 was too much to pay at the pump.
With gas price sensitivity lowering over the past three years, it appears Americans are feeling numb to the pain at the pump.
“Fortunately for Carolinians, we don’t expect to see prices get anywhere close to the $3 mark like some others around the country. In fact, the highest prices of the year could be in the rearview mirror," according to Tiffany Wright, AAA Carolinas spokesperson.
“While prices have fluctuated from pump to pump across the Carolinas, averages in both states have declined as a whole over the last month and despite strong demand, we expect summer prices to be a little cheaper than last year,” Wright said.
Even with Americans being more tolerant of higher gas prices, you can still expect 74% of Americans to make lifestyle changes to offset increased pump prices. Of those, nearly a quarter (24%) say $2.75 is the price that would push them toward changing habits or choices, including:
- Combining errands or trips - 65% (down from 79% in 2018)
- Driving less – 60% (down from 73% in 2018)
- Reducing shopping or dining out – 49% (down from 61% in 2018)
- Delaying major purchases – 43% (down from 50% in 2018)
- Driving a more fuel-efficient vehicle – 35% (down from 46% in 2018)
One key way to save at the pump often gets ignored.
Performing simple and inexpensive vehicle maintenance will not only save gas money, perhaps as much as $1,200 per year, but will also improve a vehicle’s safety and dependability.”
The Car Care Council advises:
- Check your vehicle gas cap. About 17% of the vehicles on the roads have gas caps that are either damaged, loose or are missing altogether, causing 147 million gallons of gas to vaporize every year.
- When tires aren’t inflated properly, it’s like driving with the parking brake on, and can cost a mile or two per gallon.
- A vehicle can have either four, six or eight spark plugs, which fire as many as three million times each 1,000 miles, resulting in a lot of heat, electrical and chemical erosion. A dirty spark plug causes misfiring, which wastes fuel. Spark plugs need to be replaced regularly.
- An air filter that is clogged with dirt, dust and bugs chokes off the air and creates a “rich” mixture — too much gas being burned for the amount of air, which wastes gas and causes the engine to lose power. Replacing a clogged air filter can improve gas mileage by as much as 10%.
- Keep your car properly tuned. A 21st century tune-up can improve your gas mileage by an average of 4%. Fixing a serious maintenance problem, such as a faulty oxygen sensor, can improve your mileage by as much as 40%.
Doing the maintenance on vehicles as advised can be expensive, but for a savings of up to $1,200 and avoidance of other resulting problems with a vehicle, taking appropriate care is a smart investment -- no matter how tolerant you are of higher gas prices.
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