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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

We're Driving Less, Burning Less Gas

Posted by on Wed, Aug 29, 2012 at 1:09 PM

From a new report by the always-great Sightline Institute:

Tallying up all vehicle travel on state, county, and local roads, residents of Washington and Oregon are on track to burn less gasoline in their cars and trucks this year than at any time since 1996—less even than in 2008, when gas prices spiked and the economy cratered. At least for the moment, the plateau in gas consumption that began in the late 1990s has turned into a gentle downward slide.

Measured per person, though, northwesterners have aggressively reduced their use of motor fuel. Last year, per capita combustion of gasoline in Oregon fell to its lowest level since 1962—back when a gallon of gasoline cost 31 cents.2 Similarly, per person gas consumption in Washington fell to its lowest level since 1965. Early trends suggest that per capita consumption in the two states may be headed for a drop of as much as 2 percent in 2012.

Two concurrent trends have spurred the reductions in gasoline consumption: people are driving less, and vehicles have become more efficient. Of the two, declines in driving—particularly among northwesterners under the age of 35—have made the greater impact. Looking to the future, however, gains in vehicle efficiency, combined with high and volatile gas prices, demographic shifts, and a range of social and technological trends, all point towards continued declines in gasoline use in the Pacific Northwest.

Here's the full report.


Comments (11) RSS

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orino 1
No kidding. All those unemployed people don't have to drive to work...
Posted by orino on August 29, 2012 at 1:16 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 2
Actually, exports from our region continue to climb.

If it wasn't for gas-guzzling inefficient tax-subsidized Red States, America would be doing fine, @1.
Posted by Will in Seattle on August 29, 2012 at 1:18 PM · Report this

Alternatively...last person turn out the lights.
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on August 29, 2012 at 1:28 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 4
We're driving less miles, using less gas.

The future's so bright, I got to wear shades ...
Posted by Will in Seattle on August 29, 2012 at 1:40 PM · Report this
Fnarf 5
And my contribution up my car and going back to the bike. Yeah, really. And no, I didn't get a DUI or anything. We still have a car in the family, and I still have a license, renewed today in fact (my picture looks like it was taken at the exact moment my guilty verdict on 40 charges of child molestation was read out in court).

Anybody want a clapped-out '96 Tercel with a half-inch coating of mold and moss?
Posted by Fnarf on August 29, 2012 at 1:47 PM · Report this
Fnarf 6
@4 -- whoa, check out Hipster Will, rockin' some ill Timbuk 3 lyrics! Break it down, Willster!
Posted by Fnarf on August 29, 2012 at 2:06 PM · Report this
Westlake, son! 7
But fuck stop sign running cyclists amirite?
Posted by Westlake, son! on August 29, 2012 at 3:11 PM · Report this
Fnarf 8
@7, that depends. In out-of-the-way areas where there is no traffic either way, blowing a stop sign, after slowing considerably, doesn't bother me. If there's alternating, then yes, you must stop, though you can go with the car you're next to if there's room (i.e., no one parked at the corner across). Red lights = stop. It's pretty straight-forward, actually, and not all that different than driving: stay out of people's way.
Posted by Fnarf on August 29, 2012 at 4:17 PM · Report this
My office is within sight of my house so I don't ever drive to work since it would take longer to walk to my car so I guess I'm part of that driving less crowd. When I do drive around Seattle, I feel like I'm stuck in way worse traffic than I ever was before, and way more often. 99 has been completely fucked by SDOT. It's now consistently clogged from Fremont to SoDo. I-5 is still the shitshow it always was.
Little surprise that regular commuters think there is a war on cars.
Posted by SPG on August 29, 2012 at 4:34 PM · Report this
doloresdaphne 10
Congratulations non car driving North Westerners.
Posted by doloresdaphne on August 29, 2012 at 5:06 PM · Report this
Expensive gas = can't afford to drive as much. That's got nothing to do with environmental morality.
Posted by sarah70 on August 29, 2012 at 10:44 PM · Report this

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