A Bright Spot in a Turbulant time

According to the Federal Highway Administration: "In April, Americans drove 245.9 billion miles — 1.8 percent less than a year ago. "

"April marks the sixth month in a row that we have seen a decline in vehicle miles traveled across the country," says Jim Ray, the FHA's acting administrator. "We're seeing Americans drive less across the board."

"Americans drove 9.6 billion fewer miles in May compared with the same period last year, a 3.7 percent decline and the biggest-ever drop at that time of year, the Transportation Department said on Monday."

"The agency has been collecting data since 1942. Ray says vehicle miles traveled have risen steadily from one year to the next. Driving did taper off during the energy crisis of the 1970s and early 1980s when gas prices were high. At that time, drivers cut back by 500 million miles. But highway officials liken that to a plateau — and this to a cliff."

"It is the steepest decline in vehicle miles traveled ever recorded," Ray says. "What we're estimating now for the 2007-2008 figures are 30 billion miles. So we're seeing a difference of 60-fold." See full article here.

The NY Times reports here that there is hope that gas prices will continue to drop throughout the end of the year, baring any geopolitical problems or a hurricane on the Gulf Coast that wipes out a refinery again. Equally as encouraging, they say that food commodities may have overshot the mark and drop somewhat as well.

I am most encouraged by our collective response by cutting back on driving. As I mentioned in an earlier post, in the post-$4/gal world, my butt and that gas-guzzling pimpmobile are parked at home.

It also occurred to me that the Olympics start on August 8 (I think). I think that when the world gets to Bejing and sees that gas prices are so low they are not going to say "oh, those lucky Chinese". I think they are going to be appalled by the government subsidizing gas prices. Also from the NY Times:

"From Mexico to India to China, governments fearful of inflation and street protests are heavily subsidizing energy prices, particularly for diesel fuel. But the subsidies — estimated at $40 billion this year in China alone — are also removing much of the incentive to conserve fuel."

Sure, the US still uses most of the world's gas, but if wasteful Americans can temper their gas consumption, there is no reason that emerging markets can't grow responsibly as well. We have to be smarter these days. I think we are capable of it.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please. Feel free to tell my why you think this is my most brilliant post ever.