Gas prices spur Americans to change behavior

Americans hit in the pocketbook by high gas prices are, shockingly, changing their consumptive behavior. A survey by Consumer Reports found that over a third of American drivers are pondering getting a more fuel-efficient vehicle in place of their current one; half of those are considering a hybrid, and fewer than 5 percent want a luxury sedan or large SUV. Lots of drivers are downsizing to two wheels: when gas prices spiked last year, motorcycle sales jumped 16 percent compared to the same period in 2004, and scooter sales leaped 65 percent. Bike sales rose 7 percent as fuel costs rose last year, and many bike-shop owners report more bikers are commuting instead of cycling just for recreation. Boat owners, meanwhile, are taking shorter trips, going slower, and reducing their number of outings altogether. “I hear people talking about doing a lot more buddy boating,” says a spokesboater for the Boat Owners Association of the U.S. High gas prices fostering community! How nice.