In the face of high gas prices, what steps have you taken to conserve? Are you planning your daily trips so you can go one more day without having to make another trip to your local fill station? Are you driving less and walking and bussing more? Have you tossed out the SUV for a Honda?
If so, you’re not alone. Braking News, a report released today by Sightline, shows that northwesterners have cut back on per-person gasoline use for seven out of the last eight years, and we’re now using less gasoline per person than we have since 1966
Why? As our own Clark Williams-Derry writes, “Throughout the Pacific Northwest, transit ridership has increased steadily; new vehicle efficiency has improved modestly; and transit- and pedestrian-friendly development has made strides in our major cities.”
In fact, in 2007, we took the equivalent of a five-week vacation from driving, dropping 11 percent in per-capita consumption from 1999.
Even more surprising: We’re beating the nation as a whole when it comes to cutting back. A decade ago, we used more than the rest of the country; new numbers show we’re lower than the national average of per-person gasoline consumption by 9 percent.
Unfortunately, it’s not all good news. Rising population growth in the region has largely offset these strides: Total gasoline consumption—and gasoline-related greenhouse gas emissions – have remained roughly the same since 1999. And by global standards (and compared to neighbors in BC), we’re still guzzlers.
But with the right policies, “such as including transportation fuels in a regional cap-and-trade system,” we can speed our progress.