Demand Curves Slope Downward: The Largest Monthly Decline in History for Miles Driven
IHT -- For years, it was not clear whether rising prices would ever prompt Americans to use less gasoline. But a combination of record high prices, the slowing economy and a tight credit market is having an effect.
Gasoline demand has fallen sharply since the beginning of the year and is headed for the first annual drop in 17 years, according to U.S. government estimates.
The Transportation Department reported Friday that in March, Americans drove 11 billion fewer miles than in March 2007, a decline of 4.3% (see chart above). It is the first time since 1979 that traffic has dropped from one March to the next, and the month-on-month percentage decline is the largest since record keeping began in 1942.
Note: March was also the fifth consecutive monthly decline in miles driven, compared to the same month a year ago.