Thursday, November 30, 2006

Has the tide turned in our favor?

Americans drive less for first time in 25 years
Higher gas prices cut not only sales of SUVs, but also time spent on the road:

HOUSTON (Reuters) -- High gasoline prices not only slowed fuel demand growth and cut sales of gas-guzzling vehicles in 2005, they also prompted Americans to drive less for the first time in 25 years, a consulting group said in a report Thursday.

The drop in driving was small - the average American drove 13,657 miles (21,978.8 km) per year in 2005, down from 13,711 miles in 2004 - but it is more evidence that the market works and prices help control consumption, Boston-based Cambridge Energy Research Associates said.

Is the so-called "American Love Affair With the Car" coming to a close? Can we expect the messy and emotional breakup? I suspect that many motorists would welcome an alternative, such as bicycling. Other modes, such as intercity rail and commuter trains, are also showing increases. People want options, clearly.

If we build it, they will come. Every bike commuter provides a model, a mentor, and an inspiration. Or a nuisance. In my office during the minutes before a meeting officially begins and there's time-killing idle chatter about weather and such, I'm usually the one who asks: "Just what does a gallon of gas cost these days, anyway?...Really, how bad was the traffic backup?...Huh, how far away did you have to park?"

Yes, and the donut crumbs come flinging at me.

1 comment:

Fritz said...

I rented a car yesterday and drove to work. My commute was just as long and it cost me more in time and money and aggravation. How can anybody stand driving to work every single day of the week?? I don't understand.