Share your views on hot topics

Stepping on the brakes and getting on the bus

May 23, 2008

Driver reacts after filling up at a gas station.More Americans are leaving their cars at home and jumping on buses, trains and trolleys as retail gasoline prices approach $4 per gallon, the American Public Transportation Association said in a report.

“There’s no doubt that the high gas prices are motivating people to change their travel behavior,” APTA president William W. Millar said. (For the full story, click here.)

Record high gas prices are forcing many drivers to spend less time behind the wheel. Data from the Department of Transportation on May 23 shows Americans drove 11 billion miles less in March than a year earlier — the sharpest year-on-year drop in the history of the agency’s reporting.

The government agency also reported that highway miles driven in March fell 4.3 percent from a year earlier — the first March decline since the last major oil shock in 1979.

Have you started taking mass transit more often in light of high gas prices?

Related blog: Who wants a 4-day work week?

For full coverage on the rising cost of oil, click here.

(Editor’s note: This blog was originally posted on May 23 and updated on June 2, 2008)


I will not be traveling out of town for the holiday due to high gas prices. Until last year, gas prices did not matter really for any of my traveling decisions. Now it does. Quality of life seriously suffers as a result.

Posted by John Rexler | Report as abusive

Absolutely! Not just less driving, but less flying. We own a small airplane…you think auto gas is expensive…

Everyone I know has cut back on driving, which is great for the environment. Economically, this means we’ve cut back on trips to the store, restaurant, Grandma’s – all of which are suffering from a lack of visits!

Posted by Robin | Report as abusive

I am driving 10 miles and that is it. We are not cooking out for a lot of folks either!! It is hitting the seniors harder than ever.


Put on the Brakes?!! Without gas, I can’t even get the car out of the driveway!!

Too bad Detroit couldn’t see the writing on the wall and have lead the development of smaller, energy efficient cars instead of promoting SUV’s, Trucks and the Big Engines that meant Big Profits.

Too bad the Feds didn’t see the need to invest in R&D of alternative forms of energy like Wind Turbines, Low Dams, Solar, Geothermal and even Nuclear and discount the complaints of their rich, elitist and obstructionist “Friends”.

And so I now have to figure how to cut $40 week out of my budget just to pay for the higher price for gas and 10% out of everything else as that’s what my food, clothing, etc. has risen over the last year.

Good job GW and the rest of you *&^% in Congress!!

Posted by Otis | Report as abusive

No traveling this year. The car is strickly for use to/from the office. Shopping, and essentials are performed on the ride home. For the past 3 weeks we have stayed home all Sat-Sunday. No rides to the park, or stores. I have a 46 mile commute, each way, everyday. This situation has floored us. Monthly gas to/from work is over $400 a month

Posted by NINJA | Report as abusive

Most definitely! I don’t think we as a collective understand how much power the American consumer has. It’s our responsibility to take our business elsewhere when something is wrong. We’ve got to do our part to lower demand or these prices will continue to soar. Conscious consumerism…we’d all be better for it.

Posted by Mele | Report as abusive

If only the polar bears weren’t in the way,, we could become energy independent once more,,, this is not big oil,, it is politics,, and the only reason I will be voting squarely republican from here on forward is the democratic parties unified stand against drilling for oil anywhere in our country where supplies have not already been tapped… short minded fools are costing our country billions because 2% of Americans have flapping yaps about saving an animal…

Anyways I will be driving less than average,,, but will be using my BBQ to the max over the weekend,, still gotta live a little…

Posted by John | Report as abusive

I will not be buying another car made in this country until the Iraq war ends. I am fed up. I am going to try too spend nothing and come as close to that as I can.

Posted by moodindigo | Report as abusive

American consumer can’t save our economy, neither by driving less or by spending his/her stimulus check, when country leaders has such a short foreseeing ability and such short run Solutions. Bush give stimuls checks to support economy but he can’t even see six months ahead when his stimulus package is advised to be consumed for gas.
When Govt and Corporations don’t think, plan and foresee long enough, CONSUMERS HAVE TO DO THAT FOR THEIR OWN FUTURE SECURITY. As our next president(McCain) also wants to spend a few trillion in Iraq in next 100 years.
Do you think America would exist with such plans for 100 years?
USSR didn’t survive as it stopped taking care of its economy and focus more on strength. Now they have nothing nor economy nor strength.
Our leaders are following the same path of Russia.. and expecting American Consumer to save them. What a joke!!

Posted by Economist | Report as abusive

I too will be BBQing to the max.

Posted by Benzo | Report as abusive

I have a 1960 antique Volswagen in the garage…it just became an old car that’s great on gas!

Posted by Chuck Langlois | Report as abusive

CDN here… I’ve been driving more than ever lately, but then, I just got a motorcycle that needs about 10L of gas every 150 or so km.

Cars? Even really efficient ones take too much just to move my butt and a backpack worth of junk around. I’ll look at getting a small one when there’s ice on the ground.

Posted by Aka | Report as abusive

I’m in the same boat as Otis. It’s so bad in my home that I’ve stopped buying soda, ice cream, anything none essential. I can’t even afford to throw away leftovers. Shoot… my dog is getting real thin cause I can’t give him scraps.

Looks like our government stopped working for the people. If they did still work for us, and understood us, they would have never let any of this BS food, gas price hike sh** to happen in the first place.

Posted by AJ | Report as abusive

I’ve never been a big traveller for Memorial Day in the first place but even if I was I’d probably think twice. I personally think high gas prices are a good thing. Cheap gas has caused an unsustainable lifestyle. Suburbs are an extremely inefficient way to live. As a 20-something on Long Island I know first hand how suburbs can kill a labor force. There are no cheap apartment complexes. Few downtown areas. Insufficient public transportation. Just suburban sprawl, half empty houses with single parent families and elderly couples living in 4 room houses. It’s just not economically sustainable!

Posted by Curt | Report as abusive

John – the polar bear is threatened by global warning, not drilling in Alaska. It’s the same way whether the gas comes from the US or Iraq. So you fit the model of a Republican perfectly – factually incorrect as ever!

Posted by Mr Average | Report as abusive

Everyone drive more so W’s friends in Big Oil can keep amassing hundreds of billions as the country’s economy dies and W buries what little money we have left in Iraq. Social security bankrupt, Medicare bankrupt, largest government deficit ever, WMD never existed, alQuaeda flourishing with renewed cause. I guess the hidden PNAC agenda wasn’t such a good idea after all, Misters Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Feith, Kagan, Wolfowitz, huh? Thou shalt not lie. Oops, too late. Thou shall not kill. Oops, too late. To address an earlier email from Republican “John” who blames the Democrats for being short-sighted for not allowing drilling in Alaska. John, your statement epitomizes short-sightedness as drilling might delay the current pain for what, a year? Then what? Oil is over. Ditch your 8-cylinder pickup truck. We are LONG overdue to develop alternatives. Do I recall seeing foresight and leadership on an energy policy from W and the Republicans? :) LOL. No, we were forcefed programs such as massive tax breaks for those who bought vehicles over 6,000 pounds so Bush, the Big 3, and Big Oil could keep lining each others’ pockets. They got theirs and screwed you and me. Now they drive off to their oil and weapons-funded estates and we can’t afford to drive to work. To quote a bumper sticker I saw again today, “If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention”. Worst President Ever, hands down.

Posted by The Smarter John | Report as abusive

Since when has the Bush administration worked for the people? Bush money comes from oil, so he doesn’t care if the people are being tapped out paying for gas; it just fills his coffers.

I will not be driving anywhere I don’t have to this weekend, or anytime in the near future. Luckily I live close enough to the grocery store, so that’s good.

If only we had a better public transportation system, outside of major cities. Alas…..

I bet GM is sorry they scrapped all those EV1s huh?


If you really want to do something about this then email congress and let them know you want them to open up drilling in ANWR and off the shores of the US. Click on the link and find the email address for your representative adn flood them with messages so they have to start listening.

Here is a list of the representatives minds we need to change:
Democrats Opposed to Opening Refuge
Baucus, Mont.; Bayh, Ind.; Biden, Del.; Bingaman, N.M.; Boxer, Calif.; Byrd, W.Va.; Cantwell, Wash.; Carper, Del.; Clinton, N.Y.; Conrad, N.D.; Corzine, N.J.; Dayton, Minn.; Dodd, Conn.; Dorgan, N.D.; Durbin, Ill.; Feingold, Wis.; Feinstein, Calif.; Harkin, Iowa; Johnson, S.D.; Kennedy, Mass.; Kerry, Mass.; Kohl, Wis.; Lautenberg, N.J.; Leahy, Vt.; Levin, Mich.; Lincoln, Ark.; Mikulski, Md.; Murray, Wash.; Nelson, Fla.; Nelson, Neb.; Obama, Ill.; Pryor, Ark.; Reed, R.I.; Reid, Nev.; Rockefeller, W.Va.; Salazar, Colo.; Sarbanes, Md.; Schumer, N.Y.; Stabenow, Mich.; Wyden, Ore.
Republicans Opposed
Chafee, R.I.; Coleman, Minn.; Collins, Maine; DeWine, Ohio; McCain, Ariz.; Smith, Ore.; Snowe, Maine.
Independent Opposed
Jeffords, Vt. Lieberman, Conn.;

Posted by Melissa | Report as abusive

I have cut back on driving, slowed down when I do drive, have been riding the bike, making sure I make a list of things that need to be picked up when I go to the stores so I don’t need to make useless trips, etc.

Posted by Mithan | Report as abusive

I will not be traveling this year, but I usually don’t take a trip for Memorial Day anyway. I have an hour commute to and from work and I’m trying to conserve trips when I’m out like everyone else. I drive an ’06 Civic-pretty good on gas but w/ $4.00 gas I barley notice it! Buying a hybrid wouldn’t even save me much money because I only have 2 1/2 yrs. left to pay on my current 5 yr. loan. I’d be paying more for the car than I’d be saving in gas! Let’s face it, we’re screwed thanks to the “puppets”, er, I mean, politicians than run this country.

Posted by Kelly | Report as abusive

Just drove 2x30km to visit my parents with my Peugeot 106
Electric Vehicle and charged 5kW afterwards.
For longer distances I will use the public transport systems.

Posted by Eugeen | Report as abusive

The US needs to do these steps immediately: 1. build bike lanes everywhere in our country, 2. Build Bicycle assembly plants, 3. build affordable housing close to jobs/plants/employment centers. These steps will: reduce unemployment, and reduce our enslavement to Big Bush/republican Oil, and reduce our obesity.

Posted by Molly | Report as abusive

Cutting the trips down to a bare minimum; I agree with John, if it wasn’t for those “poor little polar bears… or some little bug like that dart jumper bug that might have went extinct” we could drill for oil here. But as usual, we just let the Russians and Chinese drill off our coast while 2% of the most liberal left spout horse-crap to stop us.

Posted by Stan | Report as abusive

The silver lining in this crude cloud is that due to the high gas prices we have reduced our carbon footprint on our breathing air. Without the higher prices for oil there would be no incentive for change.

Posted by Jim | Report as abusive

The ECO-NUTS are atrying to control our lives. They want to tell us what to drive, what to eat, where to go, how to get their, where to live, what temp to set on the thermometer etc. They are the new communist dictators.

If the ECO-NUTS and the local, state and federal govt’s let us drill on our own land and off of our own shores we would not be at the mercy of our enemies for OIL!

Food and fuel are essential items and should not be allowed to be traded as a stock. If they are going to be traded as a stock then the buyer should be mandated to hold their position for a minimum of 30 days. Selling that position before that time should result in a massive penalty, say, 125% of their profit.

Posted by Steve | Report as abusive

Cut your gas use by 20%: SLOW DOWN!!
Driving, say, 50-55 mph, rather than 75 or 80 mph, will cut your gas consumption by 20-30%!! Reducing the DEMAND side of the supply/demand curve by 30% is a very BIG DEAL.
ANTICIPATE: Speeding up to get to the stop light quicker so that you can stop faster is just what the oil barons would like you to do! The more you use your brakes, the more YOU spend in gas! If traffic is braking in front of you, or you see that the stop light has changed, release the accelerator and coast.
Time is money. The faster you would like to arrive at your destination, the more it will cost you in gas. Collectively, we, as a nation, cannot afford to be in such a hurry.

Posted by Jim D. | Report as abusive

Oil and coal fuel is done. This is the 21st century, where are the flying cars. Hell I will take a water powered car. We have the technology, why aren’t they being produced in mass quantities. This oil hike is helping to make people realize that oil will one day be gone from this planet. Drilling anywhere is no longer the answer we have to find new ways of producing energy. Nuclear is not the answer either. Wind farms in the middle of the ocean seems like the next step.

Posted by Jay | Report as abusive

OIl! Give me oil. I don’t care how or who you have to hurt, just hand it over! ANYONE AGAINST OIL IS A TERRORIST OR IS JUST PLAIN CRAZY. If you are not like me then you are against me and America. Science is not the answer, faith in the lord is.

Posted by Blinded by the truth | Report as abusive

I used to be able to bite my nails, yell and cuss, and wear out my clutch leg for an hour or more each way every day. But now, I have to ride in the train, snuggle with a different strange woman every trip in the tight seats, and sleep or drink beer and tell jokes on the way home. Man, high gas prices suck …

Posted by john tucker | Report as abusive

Post Your Comment

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see