The Downside of Cheaper Gas

Auto Insurance

The Downside of Cheaper Gas

More driving means more accidents and higher auto insurance premiums.


With gas prices down by more than $1 per gallon in the past year, Americans collectively are spending $350 million a day less at the gas pump than they were a year ago, says the American Automobile Association. But the drop in gas prices, along with a stronger economy, has led to more driving—and more accidents. And that’s adding up to higher insurance costs.

See Also: Kiplinger's Forecast for Gas Prices

Through the first seven months of 2015, U.S. drivers put a record 1.8 trillion miles on the road, says the Federal Highway Administration. The National Safety Council estimates a 10% increase in traffic fatalities over that time compared with a year ago. Geico and Allstate have already reported an increase in the frequency and severity of claims, and both have announced that they are hiking rates. Morningstar analyst Brett Horn expects other insurers to follow suit.

It might pay to reshop your policy and to drive as if gas were still expensive. When it is, drivers tend to accelerate and brake gradually and maintain a steady speed to save gas, says Pennsylvania State University professor Guangqing Chi, who has studied the correlation. That’s a good way to keep your record clean and your rates low.