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Despite high prices, don’t expect driving behaviors to change, AAA survey says.

Despite high prices, don't expect driving behaviors to change, AAA survey says.

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Washington-Area Motorists Spending More on Gas Than Last Summer, AAA Says

The pain at the pump has gotten worse this summer: Washington-area motorists are spending significantly more to gas up their vehicles than last summer, a price tag that represents a larger share of their income, according to AAA.

Montgomery County, Prince George’s County Spend A Lot on Gas

Montgomery County residents are leading the way in an unfortunate category, spending $72.75 more a month to fill their tanks compared to last summer (4.3 percent of a resident’s income, an increase of 0.9 percent).

Folks in Prince George’s County aren’t far behind, spending $71.06 more a month on gas (5.5 percent of a resident’s income, an increase of 1.1 percent).

DC Tops in Washington-Area for Impact to Residents’ Income

DC residents are absorbing $60.60 more per month to fill their tanks compared to last year (5.9 percent of annual income - tops in the DC area).

In Fairfax County, drivers are spending $71.31 per month at the pump (3.7 percent of their income)

Nationally, drivers are spending $69 more per month to fill-up. No relief on gas prices are in sight, with prices per gallon averaging from $2.85 to $3.05 per gallon through Labor Day, according to AAA.

Don’t Expect Driving Habits to Change

Only one in three (33 percent) respondents said they would change travel plans if gas prices hit $3, while nearly half (47 percent) say $3.50 would be a game changer for their summer plans, according to a recent nationwide AAA survey.

Of those survey respondents in the Northeast, 25 percent of respondents said they would change travel plans if gas prices hit $3, while 39 percent said $3.50 would be high enough for them to change their summer plans.

“Motorists can expect to spend at least $250 more on gas this season, but that won’t stop them from traveling,” said AAA spokeswoman Jeanette Casselano. “Summer is synonymous with road trips and vacations and we are not going to see Americans giving up this pastime this year. The higher gas prices may just encourage travelers to shorten their driving distances. While others may pinch pennies by eating out less or finding more free family-fun activities while on vacation.”

Low-Income Individuals, Younger People Disproportionately Impacted

“Rising gasoline prices really hit the ‘hip-pocket’ nerve of motorists, disproportionately impacting low-income individuals and younger Americans. Consumers quickly alter their discretionary spending habits when pump prices go up, as they have of recent,” said John B. Townsend II, AAA Mid-Atlantic’s Manager of Public and Government Affairs.

Saving Gas While Driving

To get better gas mileage, AAA offers the following driving tips:

Observe the speed limit. Not only is it safer, it can help you save money.

  • Lose the weight. The heavier your car, the more fuel it uses.
  • Accelerate gradually. Avoid jackrabbit starts.
  • Drive during cooler parts of the day. Cooler, denser air can boost power and mileage.
  • Maintain recommended tire pressure. Low pressure reduces fuel economy and can damage tires.

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