Friday, June 20, 2008

Through $4 Gas, Consumers Find Religion: Record Decline in Drivng, Record Level of Conservation

The Federal Highway Administration reported that travel during April 2008 on all roads and streets in the nation fell by -1.8%, resulting in estimated travel for the month at 245.9 billion vehicle-miles. April marks the sixth consectutive month of traffic volume decline, compared to the same month in the previous year. Cumulative travel for 2008 fell by -2.1% compared to 2007.

On a moving 12-month total basis, traffic volume fell to a three-year low of 2.982 trillion miles, the lowest level since May of 2005 (see chart above), and it has fallen in each of the last six months. This six month trend (in both year-over-year traffic and the moving 12-month total) is the most significant adjustment in driving behavior in at least the last 25 years. There was never more than a single monthly decline in traffic volume until 2006, a few examples of two consectutive monthly declines 2006 and early 2007, but never in the history of these data was there ever a period of more than a 2-month consecutive decline until now, and therefore the 6 consecutive monthly decline is a record, and represents the most significant adjustment to driving behavior in recent history.

High gas prices are working - consumers are changing their behavior by driving less and conserving gasoline. In fact, high gas prices have probably done more to change behavior and inspire conservation of fossil fuels than all of the Earth Days, and all of the efforts of groups like the Sierra Club, combined? Consumers have "found the religion of environmentalism and conservation" through high gas prices.

6 Comments:

At 6/20/2008 12:32 PM, Anonymous Machiavelli999 said...

Which is why I find it absolutely ridicilous when Democrats complain about high gas prices.

Because if they are not environmentalist, they are definitely in bed with the Sierra Club and should be happy about high gas prices.

Oh...whats that I hear?...Conservation is good as long as you don't have to do it? OHHH, I see.

 
At 6/20/2008 1:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Religious conversion usually implies a belief in the ideology in question. Isn't this merely an example of the law of supply and demand in action? Can't gasoline be compared to any other expensive commodity like platinum or caviar?

When ordinary citizens start wearing hair shirts, wrapping their gifts in sustainable burlap, and riding bicycles en masse, you can safely conclude that there has been a conversion. Until then, people are making rational choices based upon the price of a good.

 
At 6/20/2008 4:31 PM, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

This is why you will now see a directed effort to keep the prices artificially high, even if they start to drop.

Having found the price point which they think will engender conservation, the nannies will endeavor to make sure it stays there.

In reality, convenience will win over efficiency -- every time. And so it will level off, even drop, but it won't do so forever. Eventually, people will get used to the price, and so will start once again to choose convenience over efficiency.

 
At 6/20/2008 5:01 PM, Blogger Marko said...

Could that be the reason Dems are so steadfastly (and irationally) fighting against more drilling and nuclear power? They want higher prices so they can beat Republicans over the head with it, and to stop people from driving. Al Gore did say that the internal combustian engine was the worse threat to humanity. And that was before he latched on to this global climate control nonsense.

 
At 6/20/2008 10:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You got it, Marko.

A prediction...I will bet you that the Democrats will not extend gas drilling until AFTER the election if at all.

The democrats do not have the balls to support a gas tax but they do like blaming OPEC and oil companies while obstructing all attempts to expand supply in the U.S. Yes, we call it hypocrisy.

Any announcement of drilling in the U.S. would have an immediate effect on the price of oil even though it would not increase supply in the short term. This would confirm that the Republicans and the President were right. Couldn't let that happen.

Politics is not always an inspiring or an inspired game.

 
At 6/21/2008 11:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Could that be the reason Dems are so steadfastly (and irationally) fighting against more drilling and nuclear power? They want higher prices so they can beat Republicans over the head with it, and to stop people from driving."

Yeah, pretty much. And if they ever had the votes in Congress with a Democrat in the White House, the oil industry for all intents and purposes would be nationalized. It's not just a political issue, it's a power grab as well.

 

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