Oklahomans change driving habits over high gasoline costs

Gas prices may impact return-to-work strategies | The Journal Record


Record high gasoline prices in Oklahoma have caused an estimated 63% of drivers to adjust their driving habits according to AAA. It reflects an increase in the number reported in November 2021.

A new AAA poll indicates that Oklahoma drivers are adjusting their daily driving habits, their travel plans and their travel budgets to accommodate for record gas prices – but still planning road trips this summer, as evidenced by the traffic on our roads this past weekend.

The AAA survey of 638 residents in Oklahoma was conducted June 17-18, 2022, by Public Policy Polling. The survey has a margin of error of +/- 3.9%.

“There is no overstating the pent-up demand to travel in the wake of COVID,” says Leslie Gamble, spokesperson for AAA Oklahoma. “While gas prices will discourage some, those who still want to go are simply cutting back elsewhere.”

The average price per gallon of gas in Oklahoma is now $4.50, after a record-setting high of $4.66 on June 15.

The new AAA poll of Oklahoma drivers points to three ways they are saving money.

  1. Adjusting daily driving behaviors

Some 63% of Oklahoma drivers say they have adjusted their daily driving behaviors because of gas prices. This is up 16% since last November when the average price of gas in Oklahoma was closer to $2.90, 60 cents less. Of those cutting back: 

  1. More than 40% say they are consolidating or running fewer errands
  2. More than 59% say they are limiting their driving any way they can
  1. Not commuting to work

Only about 45% of Oklahoma drivers say they typically commute to work. Of those who do typically commute:

  1. About 17% say they try to work from home more often
  2. Only 8% say they carpool or ride share to work more often
  1. Adjusting travel plans or travel budget

Some 57% of Oklahoma drivers making summer travel plans say gas prices have factored into their planning. Of those planning to travel this summer:

  1. About 28% say they are taking fewer trips because of gas prices
  2. Some 14% say they are taking shorter trips because of gas prices
  3. And, 18% say they are adjusting their travel budget for dining or lodging because of gas prices

 Of note, 71% of those 25-to-39-years-old said they have adjusted their daily driving behaviors because of gas prices. That’s 8% more than Oklahoma poll respondents overall. More than 60% of those in this age group say they have either cancelled or not made plans for a summer road trip due to the high cost of fuel.

“Even though gas prices have started to fall, these adjustments in behavior will likely linger as long as gas stays at record highs, possibly even longer,” Gamble adds.