Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Drivers cut back by 30B miles

Americans drove 22 billion fewer miles from November through April than during the same period in 2006-07, the biggest such drop since the Iranian revolution led to gasoline supply shortages in 1979-80.

The numbers released Wednesday may reflect more than a temporary attitude change in consumers toward high gas prices, Transportation Secretary Mary Peters said. Previously, she said, "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."

The decline in total miles traveled, though only 1%, means that many drivers are cutting back far more because the number of drivers and vehicles grows by 1% to 2% a year. Americans are driving about the same number of miles as in 2005, when the USA had 8 million fewer people, according to a USA TODAY analysis of Federal Highway Administration data. The declines are sharpest on rural roads, indicating that people are cutting back on long-distance and vacation trips.

Drivers cut back by 30B miles - USATODAY.com
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