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New study reveals major changes in consumer behavior as gas prices spike

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According to results of a new study by the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA), consumers are making dramatic changes in driving and vehicle care behavior to save money.

The AAIA says gas prices are heading for $4 a gallon.

Some of the key results of the survey, conducted by Opinion Research Corp., include the following:

* Nearly six in 10 motorists claim their driving behavior has changed due to rising gas prices;

* one-third stated that they would make changes when the price of gasoline reached $3 a gallon;

* 32% said they would make driving behavior changes if prices reach $4 a gallon.

When asked how their driving behavior has changed because of rising gasoline costs, 90% said they are driving less, and 75% revealed they are better maintaining their vehicle.

Other specific behavioral changes were carpooling more (31%), purchasing more fuel efficient vehicles (30%) and making greater use of public transportation (24%).

Additionally, more than half of consumers claim they are capable of performing light maintenance and repair jobs themselves.

"The fact that motorists are more aware of how proper vehicle maintenance will improve fuel efficiency is great news for the automotive aftermarket," says Kathleen Schmatz, AAIA CEO and president. "Properly maintained and operating vehicles are not only more fuel efficient, they are safer and more environmentally friendly.

"And we are delighted to see that 54% of consumers consider themselves do-it-yourselfers with light maintenance, and 12% feel they are capable of doing medium maintenance and repair jobs. This counters claims that the DIY market is dying."

Interviews were conducted online with 500 people, 21 years of age or older, who are responsible for the purchasing of fuel and the maintenance and repair of the vehicle they drive. The data was weighted according to gender, age and geographic region.

The maximum error range is plus or minus four points at a 95% confidence level, according to AAIA.

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