Rising Gas Prices Vs. American Drivers – How high do gas prices have to get to trigger behavior change?

March 15, 2012 at 7:16 pm

Image Courtesy: AAA via Grist.com

Found this interesting graphic on Grist in an article titled “How high do gas prices have to get to trigger behavior change? “.  So, do Americans really change their driving habits when the gas prices rise? According to the graph, the answer is an emphatic yes.  The article quotes AAA saying, ” AAA survey conducted at the beginning of the month found 84 percent of respondents saying they have changed their driving habits or lifestyle in some way in response to recent gas-price increases, and 87 percent would change driving habits further if prices remain this high for long. The most common change adopted so far is combining trips and errands, which 60 percent of respondents say they’ve done. And 16 percent say they’ve purchased or leased a more fuel-efficient vehicle.Read the entire article here.

Note:  If the gas prices continue to rise with the drum beats of war getting louder and louder by the day, we can expect to see many drivers ditching their cars and opt to taking transit to work and to other places.  I hope the transit agencies do everything in their power to demonstrate the conveniences of riding a bus/train and entice these flocking masses to continue using transit as a primary option for getting around.  Oh, the big question I have in mind – Are the American transit agencies equipped to handle this sudden spike in ridership? Many transit agencies are hobbled by poor funding patterns over the years and it will be hard to meet this new segment of ridership arrives to what is an already exploding demand.  Let’s see what happens.  (Oh, no matter what the scenario is, one can expect to see a decline in VMT numbers again).