Americans driving less as gas prices rise
More motorists are sticking closer to home this month but that hasn’t stopped pump prices from climbing.
At the moment, there are a number of reasons for Americans to drive less. They could be huddling in front of fireplaces against icy winter blasts that have blanketed much of the country. They could be diverting money to pay off holiday bills. Or, they could be restricting non-essential driving and purchases because of rising pump prices.
Analysts are closely watching economic news and consumer sentiment to determine if it’s the latter. If gas prices are influencing consumer habits, that could affect the pace of the economy in the months ahead.
Drivers are “pulling back on gas right now but you can’t tell whether it’s weather-related,” said Tom Kloza, publisher and chief oil analyst at Oil Price Information Service. “Unless you’re in Boca Raton, Fla., or San Diego, you’re seeing pretty sleepy midwinter demand.”