Consumers Finally Changing Driving Patterns, Says Market Research Company - BodyShop Business

Consumers Finally Changing Driving Patterns, Says Market Research Company

Americans are making lasting changes in their driving patterns as a result of two-and-a-half years of record gas prices, according to a new survey conducted by market research company The NPD Group. And that all adds up to less miles driven, which of course means fewer collisions.

The survey of 43,000 drivers captures the temporary/short-term changes consumers are making to cope with rising gas prices – modifying vacation plans, carpooling – and the longer-term changes, like changing jobs to work closer to home or moving closer to work, which began to emerge when inflation-adjusted gasoline prices soared to unprecedented levels.

“Gasoline prices reached inflation-adjusted highs in the fall of 2005, which is different than previous gas price spikes when gas was still relatively inexpensive,” says David Portalatin, director of industry analysis for NPD Group’s automotive division. “The longevity and degree to which gasoline prices have surpassed inflation-adjusted highs have caused people to make significant, long-term changes to deal with high gasoline prices.”  

According to Portalatin, the shorter term changes are likely to reverse when gas prices go down, but the longer-term changes will most likely be permanent.

“People don’t decide overnight to change jobs or move,” he says. “As in 1981, the last period when we saw record high inflation-adjusted gas prices, these decisions are made over time when gasoline price spikes sustain historic highs for more than a year. Even if gas prices drop, many of these behaviors will remain, representing a new ‘normal’ level of driving pattern behavior.”   

To read a related article on consumers’ driving habits, click HERE.

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