Economy and memories of gas pump sticker shock cause Americans to drive less - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Economy and memories of gas pump sticker shock cause Americans to drive less

SPOKANE, Wash. - Even though gas prices have dropped from sky high levels of last summer, it hasn't caused Americans to drive more.  In fact, the Department of Transportation reports a declining trend in driving.

Don Conduff pays much less for a tank of gas than he did six months ago when the national average was $4.11 a gallon but the fuel saving habits he acquired then, have stuck with him.

Don Conduff says "we have tried to drive less and just consolidate all of our shopping into less trips."

Conduff is part of a new trend. The Transportation Department says for 13 months in a row, Americans have been driving less, the largest continuous decline in driving history.

AAA points to the economy.

AAA Spokesman Troy Green says "at a time of continued economic uncertainly, even with gasoline now under two dollars a gallon, some Americans are still choosing to drive less to save money and in the case of a job loss or home foreclosure, they're being forced to drive less to save money."

Government reports show that Americans drove more than 100 billion fewer miles from November 2007 to November 2008.

Driver Dave Williams says "without a doubt major league cutback on my driving, and my wife did also and a lot of my friends are too."

Driver Johanna Vanderspool says "we do have a gas crisis and I am green so I try not to drive too much overall, and I try to carpool when I can."

The environment, the economy, and memories of sticker shock from last summer's fuel prices have resulted in what appears to be a fundamental change in travel habits.

The Transportation Department says the biggest declines in driving were in the south Atlantic region and in Washington, DC.

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