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  #1  
Old 12-10-2005, 08:41 AM
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High gas prices alter driving habits

High gas prices alter driving habits

By Tom Vanden Brook and Paul Overberg, USA TODAY Fri Dec 9, 6:56 AM ET

Record gas prices have put a dent in our driving habits. The growth in miles driven in the USA, a mostly steep climb for 25 years, has flattened in the past year as gas prices spiked, according to a USA TODAY analysis of Federal Highway Administration data.
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Driving in summer 2005 through August increased less than 1% - half the usual rate. Growth that slow hasn't occurred since the 1991 recession, according to the government's latest data, which are subject to revision.

The population and workforce grow by a bit more than 1% annually, meaning more people drive to work, so annual gains of less than that indicate a decrease in miles driven per person.

"There is a plateauing, or an extreme slowing of growth," says John Maples, research analyst at the Energy Information Administration. The $3-a-gallon mark was a trigger, he says.

Americans are fighting high pump prices by combining a trip to the grocery store with business at the bank or taking a bus to work.

Ed Olson, 36, who owns the bar Zella in Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood, tries to schedule his errands together. "We try to make the dry cleaning trip and the trip to the bank on the same day."

This mundane choice, multiplied millions of times each day, appears to be having an impact.

The Urban Land Institute found that high gas prices, which peaked in early October after hurricanes Katrina and Rita, altered Americans' driving habits.

The institute, a non-profit group that promotes innovative development, found that 81% of people it polled this fall combined errands and 45% eliminated some non-work trips. Nearly 90% said they'd driven to work the previous week, but 40% said they had carpooled or used mass transit in the past year.

"Most Americans don't have a choice of how they get to work. They have to drive," says the institute's Ed McMahon. "So they've decided to eliminate optional trips (or) double up errands."

Subway, bus and train systems saw growing ridership in the first half of 2005 as gas prices climbed, says William Millar, president of the American Public Transportation Association.

The rates of increase doubled in late summer and fall.

"It seems very much associated with the rapid increase of gas prices at the end of August with Hurricane Katrina," Millar says.

In the Chicago area, 3.4 million more people used buses and trains in August 2005 over the year before, says Scott McPherson of the Regional Transportation Authority.

The Midwest had a 1.5% decrease in vehicle miles driven in August 2005 compared with 2004, the highway administration found.

Will the changes be permanent?

"It depends on what fuel prices do," Maples says. "We're hearing about the 'low' fuel price of $2 per gallon. Nobody would have said that a year ago. We're already being reconditioned to what's normal."

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Old 12-10-2005, 12:11 PM
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This reporter must not have noticed that gas prices have gone down closer to the 2.00 mark than the 3.00 mark we saw after the hurricances.

What I have noticed that SUV sales appear to be slower, even with the huge discounts/rebates being offered by the car manufacturers.

Perhaps a cerain segment of the population has paid attention.

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Old 12-10-2005, 12:43 PM
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Classified ads in local paper are heavy with pick-ups and SUV's, outnumbering sedans. Many are 2000 and later models.
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Old 12-10-2005, 02:09 PM
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See, higher gas prices do have a positive effect, that's what I've been saying all along.
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  #5  
Old 12-10-2005, 02:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DieselAddict
See, higher gas prices do have a positive effect, that's what I've been saying all along.
That depends on what your defination of positive is, doesn't it? I'll bet you aren't in the hospitality industry are you? Snow sucks. I have to plow it and get all tired out. It was a few good years we had where there wasn't that much snow and was pretty warm. Of course, I can say that because I am not in the snowmobiling or ski business. Would you still feel that it has a positive effect if your livelihood was being affected? Just curious. BTW, we still had to go to work, prices of things did increase and we didn't get a raise for the higher fuel prices. How is that good when we spent more money doing what we have to do and you aren't writing us a check for the difference?
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Old 12-10-2005, 04:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DieselAddict
See, higher gas prices do have a positive effect, that's what I've been saying all along.
Of course it does.
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Old 12-10-2005, 08:17 PM
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I dunno, regular unleaded has been the cheapest its been for a long time, saw it at $2.11 at the cheapest, and diesel $2.40. Let's all resume buying 3 ton V8 powered vehicles!
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Old 12-10-2005, 09:04 PM
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I realize that everytime I floor it in the truck, it cost more... But its ok now


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Old 06-12-2007, 11:44 AM
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bump
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Old 06-12-2007, 12:57 PM
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High gas prices are better for the environment in general. My daughters school is approx 12 miles from my house and we drop her off everyday. Drop off and return home and return pick up is approx 24 extra miles or $7 a cay extra at current prices 7*5 is $35 weekly at the bare minimum. She does not have to but instead of returning home she takes the 2 year old to a near by park to play while my daughter is in school; so our net benefit is my kids spend more time playing outdoors, we are decreasing our dependency on oil and we have mother natures nod......not bad.

Do you guys remember when Ross Perot commented on how stupid we were about using fuel and other emerging economies were going to strangle US via oil prices and tax revenue?

Since hind sight is perfect maybe ol Ross has it right.
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Old 06-12-2007, 01:03 PM
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Go back in Time to 1993...good read. Import free oil? I wonder where we would be today.


http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,977765-1,00.html
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  #12  
Old 06-12-2007, 01:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Howitzer View Post
High gas prices are better for the environment in general. My daughters school is approx 12 miles from my house and we drop her off everyday. Drop off and return home and return pick up is approx 24 extra miles or $7 a cay extra at current prices 7*5 is $35 weekly at the bare minimum. She does not have to but instead of returning home she takes the 2 year old to a near by park to play while my daughter is in school; so our net benefit is my kids spend more time playing outdoors, we are decreasing our dependency on oil and we have mother natures nod......not bad.

Do you guys remember when Ross Perot commented on how stupid we were about using fuel and other emerging economies were going to strangle US via oil prices and tax revenue?

Since hind sight is perfect maybe ol Ross has it right.
I'm sorry he didn't get to run for president..
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Old 06-12-2007, 01:43 PM
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A week ago, I sold traded in my wife's ML320. Filling it with Premium gas at 15-16 mpg was wearing thin. We were beginning to feel like our consumption was far too conspicuous.

It was replaced by a Honda Insight. I regularly pull mid- to upper 60's on my 60 mile daily commute. All that with an automatic transmission (albeit CVT) and the A/C on.
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Old 06-12-2007, 01:54 PM
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Originally Posted by thorsen View Post
A week ago, I sold traded in my wife's ML320. Filling it with Premium gas at 15-16 mpg was wearing thin. We were beginning to feel like our consumption was far too conspicuous.

It was replaced by a Honda Insight. I regularly pull mid- to upper 60's on my 60 mile daily commute. All that with an automatic transmission (albeit CVT) and the A/C on.
Good for you, it shows that market forces prevail.
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Old 06-12-2007, 02:08 PM
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Also in breaking news:

Eating large amounts of fatty foods can be unhealthy!

It always amazes me that people get their panties all in a bunch everytime fuel rises. Between all of my cars, I put on about 30K on per year. A buck a gal. increase works out to about $2K/yr. Which is less than 10% of my federal taxes every year. That has far more of an impact on me and my family and our standard of living than the price of fuel.

Yet fuel prices are the lead story because Big Oil is the easy target and it makes people feel better to gripe.
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