This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

August 24, 2005

Reports: High Gas Prices Changing U.S. Consumer Behavior

With gasoline prices soaring, U.S. drivers are driving less and considering more fuel-efficient vehicles, according to two new studies. A report from the California Energy Commission (CEC) notes that despite an increase in population in 2004, the state is now using less gasoline. Comparing the state's total gasoline sales from the first four months of 2005 and 2004, sales actually declined by one half of one percent. In the same time period, gasoline prices rose from $2.12 per gallon to $2.60 per gallon. A public opinion poll and forthcoming study by the Polk Center for Automotive Studies confirms the CEC findings, noting that 59 percent of the people polled say they will drive less at current gasoline prices. The Polk study also found that 40 percent of poll respondents said they would delay purchasing a new vehicle, and 55 percent said that when they do buy a new vehicle, they'll buy a more fuel-efficient one. See the press releases from the CEC and Polk.

According to a report on gasoline prices from the American Automobile Association (AAA), regular unleaded gasoline and diesel fuel hit record levels on August 22nd: $2.614 per gallon for unleaded and $2.649 per gallon for diesel. See the AAA's "Fuel Gauge Report."