According to figures released this week by the Federal Highway Administration, Americans decreased the number of miles they drive in May 2008 by 9.6 billion miles over the previous year.
In a conference call to the press, U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary E. Peters said, "We have seen the longest decline in vehicular miles traveled since we started collecting this data."
For the first four months of 2008, Americans logged 40.5 billion fewer miles than in 2007, a decrease with widespread ramifications for the owners of filling stations and convenience stores, the travel industry, the automotive industry, and the highway system which will receive less tax money in return.
Commuters, struggling with gas prices that have hovered near $4.00 a gallon or above, are increasingly using methods of public transportation like trains and buses, more Americans are biking either to work or to run errands, and the number of workers telecommuting one or more days a weak has increased dramatically.
Virginia Miller, speaking for the American Public Transit Association and quoted in coverage by CNN said, "It does seem that we are on track to beat last year's record [public transportation] ridership," adding, "This can really only be explained by the large increase in gasoline prices."