Will gas prices turn America into Europe?
If you thought driving sporty little fuel-efficient vehicles and living a reasonable distance from work was strictly an affectation of Continentals who kiss their ladies down there, we've got news for you: Turns out these behaviors can be induced in any population, whatever the likelihood that its colors will run, simply by increasing the cost of fuel. Probably.
Here's the evidence, as reported by the Times. Gas prices are forcing consumers to:
– Live closer to work
– Repair their tools instead of buying new ones
– Use mass transit
– Consolidate shopping trips
– Buy less gasoline overall (down one percent since last year)
– Get incentives from their bosses to carpool and ride the bus
– Shop online more
– Buy new, fuel-efficient cars
– Shop locally instead of making long trips to the big-box stores
In short, scarcity appears to be driving more cultural change than the sum of every lecture, documentary and finger-wagging book pretty much ever. Americans: doing the right thing, but only after they have exhausted all other possibilities.
In Consumer Behavior, Signs of Gas Price Pinch, <i>The New York Times</i>.