Less Driving, Fuel-Efficient Cars Cut Gas As Prices Soar

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

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Friday, March 23, 2012

As gas prices soar, Americans are pumping less.

MasterCard SpendingPulse says gasoline consumption across the United States has been on the decline every week for the past year, showing a total drop of 4.2 million gallons. That's a 3 percent decline.

Higher gas prices seem to be the main factor. AAA puts the average price of a gallon at $3.89 today. Wichita drivers are paying $3.65 at the pump. That's the highest ever for this time of year, and analysts say it could reach $4.25 by the end of April. That's prompting Americans to make fewer daily trips and staying closer to home when they take vacations.

But the man who oversees MasterCard SpendingPulse's weekly consumption report says that's not the only factor. John Gamel points to rising sales of fuel-efficient vehicles.

A recent survey by J.D. Power and Associates found new-vehicle owners rated good gas mileage higher than reliability, stylishness or a great deal in their car buying decisions.

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