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The result of high gas prices, Americans drove 15.5 billion miles less in the first half of 2011. The Federal Highway Administration reported that U.S drivers logged 1.453 trillion miles through to June 30 which is down 1.1 percent over the first half of 2010. The last time Americans drove less was back in 2004, when they logged 1.351 trillion miles (at the half way point), according to the government.
The all time high for first-half travel occurred in 2007 with 1.497 billion miles. June in particular was a month of few miles. Travel fell 1.4 percent to 259.1 billion miles, down 3.8 billion miles. In contrast to 2011, Americans drove three trillion miles in 2010, which has a direct correlation with lower gas prices. With gas prices the way they are, Americans are driving less, and according to recent studies are also more likely to hold onto older cars.
[Source: The Detroit Auto News]
A poll has just been released asking Americans to rate their likelihood of making certain lifestyle changes based on different hypothetical gas prices. 57 percent of respondents refused to consider buying an “electric car that you could only drive for a limited number of miles at one time” no matter how high gas prices go.
Instead, they are more willing to buy a more fuel-efficient one if gas prices rise to the $5-per-gallon range. Only 12% say at that price, they would be willing to buy such a car that they could drive only a limited number of miles at one time.
High-income Americans are about twice as likely as those with low incomes to admit they would purchase an electric car if gas prices rose to the $5 range. Interestingly, no matter whether respondents view higher prices as temporary or permanent, or the degree of financial difficulty high gas prices are causing them, electric care are as equally unpopular as high gas prices.
One issue with volatile gas prices is that most Americans cannot respond immediately to them by significantly adjusting their lifestyles. However, change can be made over time. By asking Americans at what price they might react in a potentially significant way, an understanding into consumer price sensitivity(price elasticity) and the resulting future consumer behaviours can be studied.
Predictions have been made that gas prices will reach $4.52 a gallon this year. Even with this expensive prediction, most Americans seem unwilling and/or unable to significantly change their overall lifestyles. Most Americans suggest this will continue to be the case even if fas prices stay high or climb even more. To combat this expense, Americans will cut back in other areas by spending less on expenses like retail and household items, significantly affecting the US economy.