Skyscraper City Forum banner
1 - 5 of 5 Posts

·
Moderator
Joined
·
10,484 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2007-05-17-gas-prices_N.htm?csp=34



Drivers cut back — a 1st in 26 years
By Paul Overberg and Larry Copeland, USA TODAY

The average American motorist is driving substantially fewer miles for the first time in 26 years because of high gas prices and demographic shifts, according to a USA TODAY analysis of federal highway data.

The growth in miles driven has leveled off dramatically in the past 18 months after 25 years of steady climbs despite the addition of more than 1 million drivers to the nation's streets and highways since 2005. Miles driven in February declined 1.9% from February 2006 before rebounding slightly for a 0.3% year-over-year gain in March, data from the Federal Highway Administration show. That's in sharp contrast to the average annual growth rate of 2.7% recorded from 1980 through 2005.

"You have demographic shifts, traffic congestion and increased gas prices," says Ed McMahon, senior research fellow at the Urban Land Institute, a non-profit group that promotes innovative development. "For the first time in recent history, the rate of vehicle miles traveled is not increasing at the rate it was for 25 years. It's having an effect and is changing in subtle ways the way people think about their driving."

The nation has not seen such stagnant growth in driving since 1981, when the USA staggered through an oil shortage and a recession. Gas prices reached an all-time high of $3.223 in March 1981 when adjusted for inflation in today's dollars.

During the past 18 months, the nation's population and workforce have grown by just over 1% a year, so an annual gain of 0.3% indicates a decrease in miles per person.

"Thirty-five to 40% of personal miles traveled is work commutes," says Bill Veno, director of global refined products for Cambridge Energy Research Associates, a Boston-based energy consulting firm. "If you continue to grow the employment base, that would tend to push (miles driven) upwards."

Americans are driving about 200 million to 300 million fewer miles a day than they would be if the annual growth rate of 1.9% from 2000-2005 had continued.

Factors contributing to the slowdown:

•Soaring gas prices. Seven of 10 Americans are combining trips and taking other steps to reduce driving, according to a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll May 4-6. Don Harrison, 32, of Indianapolis, no longer visits his relatives across town on the weekend; he saves gas by simply calling them.

•Expanded public transportation. More people took public transit last year than at any time in 49 years. "We're seeing suburban locations create new transit systems," says William Millar, president of the American Public Transportation Association. "They're expanding into areas that never thought they needed transit because they could do everything by car."

•Slower growth of minority and women drivers and the aging of the population. Except for African-Americans, minority groups drive at high rates, and the annual growth in women drivers has slowed, says Alan Pisarski, an expert on commuting patterns. Also, he says, people on average drive less after age 55.

•Demographic shifts that de-emphasize the need to drive. Many Americans, particularly young, upwardly mobile singles, are moving downtown and revitalizing cities. "(They) don't have to live the way of the Ozzie and Harriet model — two parents, suburban, who drive to the city," McMahon says.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
222 Posts
Everyone I know has cut back on driving. I only wish I lived in a city where I could rely on public transportation.


Instead I trade time back and forth between one city where public transportation is virtually useless (buses in Huntsville run once an hour and quit running at 6 PM), and another city that has a cute little trolley downtown that's good for getting you from point A to point B in the downtown area, but outside of that, the buses aren't terribly reliable. They run a lot later in Birmingham than they do in Huntsville (10 PM, not to mention they run on the weekends), but they still have a long way to go.


Truthfully, Birmingham is getting to the point to where it could use a LRT system (just one line running from downtown down 280 to Shelby County would do), but I know that won't happen. The bus system has to be expanded and revamped first.


So a car is basically the only way I can get around, and this is a sad reality for many, if not most, Americans. I'd love to be able to take reliable, safe (that's another thing that Birmingham's buses are not - safe) public transportation to and from work and/or school, but it's just not happening where I'm at. Gas prices are just beginning to hit $3/gallon where I'm at (I paid $2.91 two days ago), so compared to the rest of the nation, we're cheap from what I understand, but it's still too damn much.


I really think the oil companies are artificially inflating the price of gasoline by artificially reducing the supply - i.e. they're not supplying as much oil as they could, just enough to keep us junkies coming back for more.........


I can't wait til the day when alternative fuel sources that are feasible for use are found, become mainstream, and oil companies begin to lose all of their money and die. Oh happy day!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
30,793 Posts
Sadly, I can't do that...I DON'T have that luxury.

I go to school and work in the suburbs where reliable PT is non-existent. Services stopping at 6PM, and then having service every hour while in service. Can't rely on that. If I worked in Downtown Hartford, then probably I could ditch the car.

Yesterday, I paid $25 for a bit more than 7 gallons. WTF?
 

·
metrocard millionaire
Joined
·
1,257 Posts
Thats ridiculous guys, Rotten, Insomniac I feel for you...I can get around in the city and suburbs easily with a metrocard, thank f*cking god! I want to move to a different part of the country but the car thing is something holding me back ( I still have yet to get a license)
 

·
If I could be anyone...
Joined
·
2,551 Posts
Sadly, I can't do that...I DON'T have that luxury.

I go to school and work in the suburbs where reliable PT is non-existent. Services stopping at 6PM, and then having service every hour while in service. Can't rely on that. If I worked in Downtown Hartford, then probably I could ditch the car.

Yesterday, I paid $25 for a bit more than 7 gallons. WTF?
At least you have a PT system. The closest bus stop for me is about a 25 minute walk from my house, and if I wanted to take a trip to school, it would take me about 2 hours, and cost MORE than if I drove.

The compromise I make is drive to the closest metro station (which, I found, was a 2 and a half hour walk), and taking BART, and it still takes around 80 minutes, and cost only about 1-2 dollars less.

I can get to Berkeley and park in 45 minutes if I drove.
 
1 - 5 of 5 Posts
Top