The Wall Street Journal:

When gasoline prices shot over $4 a gallon this summer, Americans didn’t wait for Washington to respond with an energy policy. They took action on their own by driving less and switching to more fuel-efficient cars.

The results are dramatic, but also problematic.

The good news is that gasoline consumption has fallen compared with a year earlier in every month from March through September of this year, according to data from the Energy Information Administration. Vehicle miles traveled — the wonky term for how much we drive — have dropped for 11 straight months, and fell 4.4% in September, according to the Department of Transportation.

The only people driving more in September than a year earlier were the proud few who live in North Dakota and the denizens of the District of Columbia. The lousy economy depressed driving in many parts of the country. Our nation’s capital, however, is a rock that’s always above the water line whether the economic tide is high or low.

In short, many Americans, by choice or by default, did what the people who worry about the climate and U.S. dependence on petroleum wanted them to do. They burned about 5% less gasoline in August than a year ago, according to Energy Information Administration data.

Photo by Scyza .

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