DES MOINES, Iowa — With gas prices averaging over $5 a gallon nationwide for the first time in history, people are looking for alternative – namely, cheaper – ways to get around this summer.
Meredith Mitts, a public affairs specialist for AAA Minnesota-Iowa, said that the company has noticed the day-to-day behavior of United States drivers shift toward a more efficient approach as prices soar.
"People are looking for ways to cut costs and save gasoline. So what this looks like for some people is carpooling whenever they're able to," Mitts said. "But for others, it looks like participating in fuel rewards programs, or making sure that, when they're running errands, that they're taking the most fuel efficient vehicle, and they're mapping out where they're going and how to get there."
Mitts said that two possible reasons behind high gas prices are the demand for gasoline fuel, and the cost of crude oil. Since crude prices are high around the globe, the U.S.'s gas prices have followed suit.
"And then we're also hitting the summer period of travel where people are trying to get out and travel," Mitts said.
Road tripper Melanie Lee said she and a few friends are all traveling to Chicago in one rental car in order to save gas.
"(We're) taking a rental car instead of our own vehicle," Lee said. "A lot of times you can get better gas mileage doing it that way versus whatever vehicle you typically drive."
For travelers like Lee, group road trips, choosing vehicles for their fuel efficiency and carefully planning routes can help curb the steep prices they'll encounter along the way.
Keeping these considerations in mind could be important in coming months because, according to Mitts, prices probably won't be dropping any time soon.
"And that's why we say make sure you are taking advantage of those fuel rewards programs because they're free to you..." Mitts said. "And that can save you some money as can making sure you're just intentional about what your route looks like and the times of day you're driving."
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