COLUMBUS, Ohio – Americans appear to have less patience, but more tolerance, for high gas prices than they have in the past.
Average prices at the pump, nationally and in Ohio, have remained above $3 a gallon since Dec., 2010, but a survey by the AAA found fewer people are changing their driving habits to offset the higher costs.
“People may be less likely to change their habits, but they do not seem any happier at the pumps. Many drivers grudgingly realize that paying more than $3 per gallon for gasoline is the new normal, but they remain frustrated with the price,” says Bob Darbelnet, the auto club’s president and CEO.
Gasoline demand increased 1.1 percent in 2013, the largest annual increase since 2006, but the AAA’s survey of drivers found that 53 percent of them are changing their driving habits or lifestyle to offset high gas prices, down from 62 percent last year.
The most common changes were combining errands or trips (85%), driving less (84%) and reducing shopping or dining out (68%).
Ohio’s gas prices have remained lower than last year, with an average of $3.43 for the first three months of the year, AAA Ohio senior public relations manager Kimberly Schwind said.
Nationally, drivers are enjoying the lowest prices for March since 2020, but also paying the highest prices since September, according to the national auto club’s public relations manager, Michael Green.
Friday’s survey of gas stations by the AAA, the Oil Price Information Service and WEX, Inc., found the average price of regular in Columbus was $3.67, exactly the same as a year ago, but 7 cents higher than the day before and 4 cents higher than the previous Friday. The national average has remained steady at $3.57 for the last week.