Gas prices lead many to change driving habits
To view our videos, you need to
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.
Then come back here and refresh the page.
GREENSBORO -- Federal energy officials said the price for a gallon of regular gasoline could average $4 in the U.S. by the summer driving season. It already topped $3.52 a gallon in North Carolina.
We're not at July 2008's national average of $4.12 a gallon. At least, not yet. But more drivers have been hearing the rumblings and they're thinking fuel economy.
"There's no question there's been an uptick over the last three weeks or so,” said Jim Haydon, used car director at Rice Toyota in Greensboro. “People are anticipating a higher spike in gas prices. As such, they are looking for much more fuel efficient automobiles."
Some people have a specific mileage rating in mind.
"We'll get people (who say) I want a car that gets 35 miles per gallon, but in many cases people will simply come in and say I need to get better fuel economy," Haydon said.
Interest in motor scooters also is climbing.
"It's more than an investment in discretionary spending,” said John Hill, owner of Scooternerds on N. Eugene St. “They want to know how it can save them money, so, they're always asking what kind of fuel economy."
Car manufacturers are proud to boast an EPA rating that tops 30 miles per gallon. The typical scooter more than doubles that figure and some deliver simply astounding fuel economy.
"The most economical scooter we have is the new version of the Stella,” said Hill as he pointed to one on the showroom floor. “This green one here is rated at 140 by the EPA, 140 miles per gallon."
Haydon said some people are fighting the higher pump prices by parking their gas-guzzling SUVs much of the time and buying a small economy car to get around.
"In fact, my wife and I just did,” Haydon said. “We have a sport utility vehicle because we have four large dogs and I recently got a small fuel efficient car, which my wife used to go back and forth to school. No question, I had to do it."
Haydon said ultimately most people would look for more efficient ways to do everything including getting behind the wheel.
"It's about managing cost, whether it's cost for your automobile, whether it's cost for running your household,” he said. “Because they need more efficient, more inexpensive ways to do it."