I didn't think we would see prices like this again, so I stopped on the way home tonight to capture a photo for posterity. How will this impact driving habits? Here are a few quick thoughts.
While it is nice to save money on gas, it raises a few questions about the potential influence gas prices have on our driving habits. Watching the news tonight, tourism representatives are already forecasting increased visitor numbers due to the cheaper cost of fuel.
Road pricing is universally accepted as a good way to reduce traffic demand, and the price of gas is in effect a form of road pricing, controlling how much we pay per km. It stands to reason that if higher costs reduced demand, cheaper gas may create demand. It may also result in people buying less fuel efficient vehicles if they believe the prices will stay low for the foreseeable future.
In relation to planning, these low prices help continue our love affair with the automobile and make it more difficult to achieve mode shift to walking, cycling and transit that is a common goal of most plans today. As we have little control over fuel prices, we must continue working towards making alternative transportation options more desirable regardless of fuel prices, we have to make people want to choose another way!