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The Green Life: With Gas Prices Down, Drivers Fill 'Er Up

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October 31, 2008

With Gas Prices Down, Drivers Fill 'Er Up

Gas-oil-vintage-sign Last July, oil prices climbed to a record $146 per barrel, and the average cost of a gallon of gasoline skyrocketed to $4.12 (another record). What happened? Americans realized they didn't want or couldn't afford to pay that much for fuel, so they started driving less. In fact, during the first quarter of 2008, Americans consumed 400 million fewer gallons of gasoline than in the same period one year earlier, preventing some 3.5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide from going into the atmosphere. Yippee, right?

Wrong. As the economy spirals downward and demand for oil drops, oil prices have followed, today down to $65 a barrel. Gas prices now average $2.46 per gallon and have plummeted to less than $2 a gallon in some places. As the New York Times reports, consumer spending is down overall, but people seem to be reverting back to old driving habits--viewing lower gas prices as "freedom."

--Michael Fox

Share your thoughts: How have lower gas prices affected your driving habits?

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