Americans Driving At Historic Lows

The U.S. Department of Transportation is reportingthat Americans are continuing their downward trend in driving, with estimated vehicle miles traveled on all U.S. roads in March 2008 falling 4.3 percent compared to March 2007.

Hand in hand with these posts (here and here), there was a nice op ed piece I wanted to share from the NY Times.

Basically, the author, Thomas Friedman, says that whomever becomes president (he seems to be leaning towards Obama) needs to have enough will to actually tell the American people what they apparently don’t want to hear: High gas prices are not going away and the country needs to change its habits.

A couple of points really jumped out at me.  Most of us have probably seen the Dodge ads where they are offering cheap gas for 3 years – Friedman compares this to tobacco companies offering cheap smokes to kids.  Essentially Dodge is acting as a drug dealer, pushing big old SUVs down the throats of addicts.

I’ll leave you with this bit from the article:

I can’t say it better than my friend Tim Shriver, the chairman of Special Olympics, did in a Memorial Day essay in The Washington Post: “So Dodge wants to sell you a car you don’t really want to buy, that is not fuel-efficient, will further damage our environment, and will further subsidize oil states, some of which are on the other side of the wars we’re currently fighting. … The planet be damned, the troops be forgotten, the economy be ignored: buy a Dodge.”

He’s right, too…Obama did have the guts to point out that the McCain/Clinton gas tax holiday proposal was worthless pandering.  Let’s just hope he has the guts to do a big time intervention to get us off our car addictions, as well.

Thanks to Jimsey for the tip on this one.

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8 responses to “Americans Driving At Historic Lows”

  1. jimsey says :

    Also on the thoughts of the Gas Tax Holiday, I believe it was Kunstler who phrased, “I’d hate to be the person who has tell Americans the tax holiday is over on Labor Day” (poorly paraphrased)

  2. Mark says :

    That piece on Dodge feeding addicts is brilliant. I smell a lawsuit.

  3. kristiane says :

    Ahh! The gas! I have been trying to ignore the price, but i just filled my very small car for 45 dollars. Pew.

  4. jimsey says :


    Will there be a giant settlement like the Big Tobacco Settlement of years ago?

  5. Ben says :

    Was that anything like the Big Gold Rush in the 1800s?

  6. jimsey says :

    yes, but with less prospector dances and more oil tycoon gigues.

  7. gas price tired says :

    Someone told me high gas prices will cuase people to stop driving and cuase automakers to build better efficient cars. But that only means that less people will be able to afford new cars becuase better anything in the car business means more money [ cost].
    I watched a guy walking down the road with his little boy, when i asked him if he needed a lift – he said “no, I’m almost at the corner store. I’m going to buy milk”…. I was on HWY 98 and the neares home was atleast half a mile away….

    When things are tight – it doesn’t matter how efficient new cars are….

    I guess I’ll try to win the $500 Gas Card !

  8. Ben says :

    What an artfully placed piece of spam, I must say I’m impressed. However, I’m still disabling your links.

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