As crude-oil prices climb to historic highs, steep gasoline prices and the weak economy are beginning to curb Americans’ gas-guzzling ways.
In the past six weeks, the nation’s gasoline consumption has fallen by an average 1.1% from year-earlier levels, according to weekly government data.
That’s the most sustained drop in demand in at least 16 years, except for the declines that followed Hurricane Katrina in 2005, which temporarily knocked out a big chunk of the U.S. gasoline supply system.
This time, however, there is evidence that Americans are changing their driving habits and lifestyles in ways that could lead to a long-term slowdown in their gasoline consumption.
I’ve only filled my tank once so far this year, so my personal consumption is down by more than the average American’s. Thank God — it would be horrifying if the opposite were true.