USA Today reported on Monday that drivers have cut back their time on the road by 30 billion miles.That’s no small beans, particularly in a country as car-obsessed as the United States. It’s the biggest dip in American mileage since the Iranian Revolution prompted gas shortages in 1979-1980.
Curiously, driving in the West has dropped off more than in any other region of the country. Declines are most significant in rural areas, where gas is often most expensive, and where city-dwellers don’t dare to drive, now that gas has reached more than $4/gallon.
Americans are doing more than foregoing summer vacations to save on gas money. According to the article, they’re also buying homes that are closer to the city (goodbye, sprawl) and jobs that are closer to home.
Transportation Secretary Mary Peters believe these changes will stick. Previously, said Peters, "people might change their pattern for a short period of time, but it almost always bounced back very quickly. We're not seeing that now."
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