1 of 4 | AAA said that new survey data show that nearly 90% of U.S. residents are driving less as a result of higher gas prices -- and 74% are combining errands to make fewer trips. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo
July 26 (UPI) -- The cost of gasoline in the United States declined by a few cents per gallon on Tuesday and it appears that part of the reason for the recent slide is that Americans are driving less, experts say.
The national average on Tuesday was $4.32, according to AAA -- 3 cents lower than Monday and 17 cents cheaper than the average a week ago. A month ago, the average was $4.90 per gallon.
AAA said that new survey data show that 64% of respondents said they are adapting their driving or lifestyle as a result of higher prices. Of that share, nearly 90% said they're driving less and 74% are combining errands to make fewer trips.
Since peaking at just over $5 per gallon in June, prices at the pump have been coming down over the past few weeks.
AAA said that more than half of respondents in the survey said they cut down shopping and dining out, and another 30% canceled vacations or decided against making any big purchases this year.
"While many Americans are adapting their daily habits to make up for higher gas prices, it also affects their future travel plans," AAA said in a statement Monday.
"Many Americans have postponed taking a vacation this year. With gas prices remaining volatile for the foreseeable future, consumers will likely be paying higher prices than in previous years."
AAA said it found that a great majority of American drivers -- almost two-thirds -- reported that they have made adjustments to their normal routines as a result of higher gasoline prices. Almost 90% of that share said they are driving less. File Photo by AJ Sisco/UPI
The cost of gas is highest in the West, where California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon and Washington still have an average above $5 per gallon. The least-expensive gas is found in Texas and the Southeast. Texas has the lowest average, $3.82 per gallon, followed by South Carolina ($3.84) and Georgia ($3.86). Eleven states in the region, in fact, are averaging under $4 per gallon.
AAA said it expected the results of the new survey to reflect a change in driving habits after a similar survey in March showed that many Americans were planning to adapt to rising prices.
Drivers also reported turning to other cost-saving strategies like carpooling (16%), driving more fuel-efficient vehicles (13%) and using public transportation (5%).
The AAA survey was a random sampling of more than 1,000 adults nationwide in late June.
In its statement Monday, AAA recommended multiple practices to improve fuel economy -- such as slowing down on the highway, regularly checking tire pressure and keeping up with vehicle maintenance.