Friday, May 16, 2008

How is the rising cost of fuel affecting your driving habits?

Earlier this year, Washington state and the rest of the country began to see rapid fuel price increases. No ... actually, it was March of last year that prices spiked. Wait! Wasn't it in September 2005, on the heels of Hurricane Katrina, that people considered hording gasoline?

Basically, gas costs more than it ever has. You know it, and I know it. So, it is no surprise that transit organizations throughout Washington are reporting strong growth in ridership. The question for WSDOT is how the fuel prices are affecting travel behavior on our state highways.

A quick look at some WSDOT data from the central Puget Sound region shows that motorists there seem to be driving a little less.

A sampling of traffic counts at several locations in the central Puget Sound region show that the average daily traffic was flat or slightly down in March 2008, compared to March 2007. But before we start to envision empty highways, remember that population is increasing. And, even with year-to-year traffic levels holding steady, the region traffic has still increased from 4 to 11 percent since 2003.

We have posted information on our web site, www.wsdot.wa.gov/finance/fuelpriceimpacts. We anticipate updating that page periodically as more data from the most recent few months becomes available.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

I used to drive to work everyday by myself, but I'm carpooling to work now most days. On weekends, I don't drive as much as I used to. I compile several errands before I venture out. Overall, I've actually reduced my driving by probably about 30%.

bizwiz said...

No, it hasn't. I figger you can get all whack about it, or learn to love it.

Being that petroleum is a world market, subject to political pressures, combined with a freakin' clueless congress and El Presidente who will not be happy until every greenback resides overseas, I have learned my influence is infintismal, not to stress, to pay, to laugh, to love, and just deal with it in general.

Now, I always have been a combine-trips kinda guy, but one of the freedoms I most cherish is the ability to get in the mini-urban assault vehicle, fire 'er up, and drive to where I want to visit, at will.

My 2¢, value all advice at cost, and YMMV

Geezer OUT!

www.thespinmeister.blogspot.com
www.hatemalepost.blogspot.com

Eric Farmer said...

We now compare notes the night before to determine who is driving where with what vehicle. Each trip into Spokane from where we live is at least 15 miles one way. One vehicle averages 18-19 mpg for this type of driving and the other 11-12 mpg. Because of this, I also began riding my bike at least part way to work 2 to 3 times per week. I began this last week and realize a $7+ savings each day I ride. I am also looking into car/van pooling and other alternatives. Anyone who thinks that things may moderate under a different administration or by putting pressure on the major oil companies is probably missing information on the many complexities that influence fuel prices.

Anonymous said...

This is fantastic! Now if gas would go up to $5, $6, even 8$ a gallon (give it a few years) we could get even more cars off the road! I carpool 99.9% of the time either in my full electric Ford Ranger EV or my B99 biodiesel powered VW Touareg V10 TDI. I carpool clean and carbon neutral.

Anonymous said...

At 99% capacity in the Park and Ride at 160th St, Canyon Park, and 164th Steet, I would love to carpool but can't find a spot. I go Northbound from Bothell/Kenmore to Everett Boeing. Even if I wanted to bus, carpool, or Vanpool I cannot. I have complained before, gotten the response of "we agree". However, I do not see any northbound expansion projects of the park and rides in the works. Plus the surrounding business parking lots are feeling the pressure of people parking in their business and taking the bus. Will this be addressed soon?

Anonymous said...

After 9 years we gave up on our Metro vanpool due to rising operational costs. Everyone moved over to the Sounder train. Now I make the short trip from home to the Puyallup train station. However Sounder needs to continue adding trains and increase parking at the stations. There is inadequate infrastructure for getting myself to the trainn station other than my personal vehicle. I appreciate that unlike the bus park and ride lots the train station has Security patrols all day long.

Anonymous said...

Don't be confused by the politicians in Washington Dc. Fuel prices are going up because of a lack of refineries, lack of drilling of our coast lines, lack of drilling in ANWR and a lack of converting coal to oil. If we keep the politicians out of the way, we wouldn't be in the mess we're in. It is important to have politicians that show leadership and we currently are looking at candidates that will make things much worse. Wake up America!!

Too Old to be Fooled

Anonymous said...

Don't be confused by the politicians in Washington Dc. Fuel prices are going up because of a lack of refineries, lack of drilling of our coast lines, lack of drilling in ANWR and a lack of converting coal to oil. If we keep the politicians out of the way, we wouldn't be in the mess we're in. It is important to have politicians that show leadership and we currently are looking at candidates that will make things much worse. Wake up America!!

Too Old to be Fooled

Anonymous said...

Our truck and Jeep are parked! We commute daily on our Harley's and have been since gas prices topped $3/gal. If the price per gallon goes from ridiculous to insane we'll switch to our street legal dirt bikes which get twice the gas mileage of the Harley's. At least we have systems in place to reduce our fuel costs - we're lucky. Our toys, oddly enough, are saving us a lot of money per month! As for recreation, we love camping but the number of trips this year has been cut in half and we're carpooling with friends and family to split the cost.

Anonymous said...

Instead of going on 6 or 7 camping trips, we only have 3 planned. No more driving to the Oregon coast from Enumclaw, WA in our diesel pick up pulling our 25 foot trailer! We are staying more local for our vacations this year. It's a real Bummer!!

Anonymous said...

Hey everybody, It is a shame that high fuel prices are causing us to change the way we travel. We should have been car pooling for many years, and using public transportation, not just because of the price of fuel, but because of the billions of carbon dioxide that it puts into our atmosphere. I was raised during the '70s' and that is when the thinking green thing started. I agree that the price of fuel is outrageous, but what about all of the SUVs and 4x4s, etc. Are they going to switch to smaller more conservative vehicles? The price of food is also going up, so we are dealing not just how much fuel is, but how much does milk or fruit going to cost? Someone needs to bring it to the store right. So what can we do about it?

Anonymous said...

This weekend. I took the train to spokane. After doing the math, I found that it was cheaper than driving. The ads were right. no stress, no hassle and dinner in the diner. Wa State needs to work on getting a second cross state trip which leaves at more convient time.

Anonymous said...

This weekend. I took the train to spokane. After doing the math, I found that it was cheaper than driving. The ads were right. no stress, no hassle and dinner in the diner. Wa State needs to work on getting a second cross state trip which leaves at more convient time.

Anonymous said...

Rising fuel cost will change all of our habits - but we will be forced into driving anyway.

*rant on*

Unfortunately this will not end well for our area as there are few alternate modes of transport and the current systems will be taxed to their breaking limits in years to come. The days of riding a bus and sitting down are already gone, and the days of standing for an hour holding a metal pole are the standard - what will it be like in a year when gas is $5/gal or more??. The obvious answer would be to have a light rail system that would branch out into our suburbs/cities and follow the I-5/405/522/520/90/167 corridors. What we should have had implemented 15 years ago is just now nearing it's first stage of completion. To make things worse, the first leg of the light rail system goes from Tukwila to Seattle through some of the poorest and scariest neighborhoods in our area. The potential for bad press due to onboard crime, low ridership, and risk for no future funding due to these factors is thereby increased exponentially. On the bright side it may be a huge success, and a few years down the road the area will want light rail everywhere, but be told that isn't possible by the WSDOT. There are extremely limited plans for future expansion of this system, and with the new 520 bridge having no facility to carry a light rail system the WSDOT has once again proven they cannot see into the future. I question the true measure the WSDOT are willing to take in order for us to better our community, society, world, and pocketbook as we will still have no solid mass transit options in 10 years when gas is $8/gal and we are still begging for light rail to Bellevue/Redmond/Everett/Lynnwood/Renton/Tacoma/etc.....and to be quite honest, it saddens me that this will be our future.....

*rant off*

Anonymous said...

I am afraid that when 2018 or 2020 comes, we will still be paying for money borrowed to build highway expansions that normal citizens won't be able to afford to use and yet because of that debt, we won't be building the light-rail systems that we will need to get from where we live to where we work. The token rail line in Seattle (not yet open even) will look like pathetic planning and gross mismanagement of transportation funds when 2018 and 2020 arrive. Gas is only going to become more expensive. When will we finally figure out that our way of life demands that we plan for a future of limited options that require long lead-times for development (starting now). Please quit building for tomorrow with thinking from yesterday.

emilzatopek said...

I haven't changed a thing. My gasoline bill is a little over 1% of my gross income. My tax bill, including income, FICA, sales, property, excise et al is over 45% of my gross income. For my 1% I get to go wherever I want whenever I want. For my 45%, I really don't know. The 20 cent bag fee does have me fuming.