Progressive Survey Finds Rising Gas Prices Changing How Some Americans Drive

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MAYFIELD VILLAGE, Ohio � May 3, 2004 � The rising price of gasoline is causing some Americans to rethink how much, where, and what they drive, according to a recent survey of 1,000 drivers by the Progressive group of insurance companies, the third largest auto insurer in the country.

Half (50 percent) of those surveyed said they would change their driving habits as a result of increased costs at the fuel pump. Ninety-two (92) percent said they would drive out of their way to buy gas that was 20 cents less a gallon, and 19 percent plan on vacationing closer to home.

The survey also found that 32 percent plan to double up on groceries to make fewer trips to the store, 28 percent will talk on the phone rather than visit family or friends, and 28 percent plan on watching more television and movies at home.

When asked to rank which costs of owning a vehicle were most out of their control, respondents put gas prices at the top of their list (53 percent), followed by auto insurance (21 percent).

�People may be able to control their auto insurance rates more than they think,� said Tom Hollyer, product development manger for Progressive. �Rates change all the time. You may be able to save as much or more than you�re spending in increased prices at the pump by simply shopping around. Assuming you fill your 20-gallon gas tank about once a week and are paying 30 cents more per gallon � you can expect your fuel costs to increase $156 in a six-month period. A lot of people could save that much and more by shopping around for auto insurance because rates can vary by hundreds of dollars between companies.�

The survey also found that 16 percent of respondents would consider buying a more fuel-efficient car, which could also affect what they pay for insurance.

�Generally speaking, smaller, less expensive cars with lower horsepower engines are less expensive to insure than larger, more expensive cars with higher horsepower engines,� said Hollyer. �I would recommend looking at the cost of insuring a vehicle you’re interested in buying before making the purchase. You can also keep auto insurance costs down by managing your credit and maintaining a clean driving record.�

The Progressive group of insurance companies, in business since 1937, ranks third in the nation for auto insurance based on premiums written and provides drivers with competitive rates and 24/7, in-person and online service. The companies offer insurance by phone at 1-800-PROGRESSIVE, online at progressive.com and through more than 30,000 independent insurance agencies in the U.S. Progressive was recently ranked #1 on the Business Week 50, the magazine�s annual assessment of the best performing Standard & Poor�s 500 companies. The Common Shares of the Progressive Corporation, the Mayfield Village, Ohio-based holding company, are publicly traded at NYSE:PGR. More information can be found at progressive.com.