Americans (and assumedly other countries) returning to their old driving habits as gas prices go down

Friday, October 31, 2008

Yech. I guess this answers the question I had a while back about how long prices need to remain high in order for a country to permanently change the way its transportation system works and the habits that come along with it. Well, it answers it to a certain extent: at least more than four months.

Doug Guidry gave up drag racing and boating last summer when gasoline prices shot up. Billy Castaneda put off trips to Houston to see his grandchildren. Randal Shul stopped playing paintball with his buddies to save gas.

Now, with gasoline prices dropping, all three men are hitting the road again. “Gas going down means freedom, even when everyone is worried about the economy,” Mr. Castaneda said as he filled his 1995 Oldsmobile 88 to drive 125 miles to Houston the other day.

The sharp decline in gasoline use earlier this year — with volume down nearly 10 percent in some weeks — suggested to many people, including the automobile companies, that a permanent change in American habits might be at hand. But with gasoline prices falling drastically in recent weeks, some American drivers are returning to their old ways.


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