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.