Gas prices have become the symbol of rapidly rising US inflation in 2022. The per gallon price has risen nearly 40% since 2020 due to post-pandemic demand and reduced supply out of Russia, to name a few factors. The average cost to fill a car’s tank is above $50. For trucks, drivers are prepared to pay nearly $100 at each fuel stop.
When Americans see gas prices rising as they are, they know something is wrong with the system at large. Nearly half (43%) of Americans consider gas prices to be one of their biggest concerns of the year.
“The rate hikes are driving up the already high cost of car ownership. That throws a huge wrench in the budget of people who are really just struggling to get by,” says Doug Helle, a national insurance expert at Consumer Federation of America.
Car Insurance Rates are Going Up
But gas prices aren’t the only place where car owners are paying more. Car insurance is also getting more expensive. Premiums have risen $138 per month, or $1,655 a year. The largest insurance companies in the country are filing for rate increases this year. Allstate is pushing for a 12% rate increase while State Farm is relatively more modest at 4.2%. When asked why they want to raise rates, companies cited incidents of fuel theft, increased car prices across the board, labor shortages, rising medical costs, supply chain disruptions, and the price of gasoline.
All these overlapping issues stitch together into one boogeyman: inflation. Most Americans drive as a matter of routine. Large sections of the country assume all residents own a car for things like work, school, and errands. So how are consumers supposed to manage the effects of inflation? First, let’s list some things people shouldn’t do. Switching to cheaper types of gas may cause powertrain damage, damaged transmission, and/or engine failure. If your car can only take a certain type of gas, use that type. Furthermore, don’t try to forego car insurance. It’s mandatory in 48 states. Finally, while hybrid or electric vehicles could offer an escape from gas reliance, buying one right now is expensive and difficult due to supply chain issues.
Instead, look for ways to increase your gas mileage without damaging your car. Brake gradually, stay out of traffic jams and drive thru (which promote idling), and stick to speed limits before 50 mph. Also look for ways to cut back on driving. Not only does driving less save gas, but it can also bring you discounts on car insurance.