Southern California motorists are used to high gas prices, but many are overpaying by 20 cents or more per gallon, according to a new survey from GasBuddy.
The industry price tracker chalks that up to a variety of factors, including procrastination, picking the wrong grade of gasoline — and perhaps worst of all, laziness.
GasBuddy conducted the study to gain insight into how consumers decide when and where to stop for gas.
Creatures of habit
The results reveal that, above all else, we are creatures of habit. Nearly 80 percent of respondents said they have a gas station they regularly go to, and 38 percent of those drivers said they go there simply because it’s convenient. Let’s face it, most of us aren’t crazy about the idea of driving three or four blocks out of our way to save 10 or 12 cents per gallon when we’re on the way to work or running late for an appointment.
But that could be a big mistake.
“Drivers are getting lazier, and going to the same location just because it’s convenient can cost you,” said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy. “Southern California has some of the biggest price spreads between stations. Many people just assume that their station has one of the lowest prices around. But you could be paying nearly $4 a gallon when there might be another station nearby that’s only charging $2.99 a gallon.
“I’ve seen that kind of price gap.”
Other price spreads might not be as dramatic. But over time, motorists who seek out cheaper stations can save hundreds of dollars, according to DeHaan.