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Americans Drive 1.4 Billion Fewer Miles

Americans Drive Much, Much Less — and Roads Are Suffering

Well, you know what they say, you can't win for losing. "They" would be my mom, and I just realized that doesn't actually make sense. But! In the world of gas, doing good is coming back to haunt us. The steep gas prices and/or environmental concern led to 1.4 billion fewer highway miles driven by Americans in April this year than the same time last year, so says the Department of Transportation.

It's the sixth consecutive monthly drop in miles driven and is more than three times larger than the drop from March 2007 to March of this year, which was 400 million fewer highway miles. Yay for us conserving and all that, right? Not if you want nice roads and no traffic when you do drive. Less driving = less gas purchased = fewer taxes on gasoline, which go to fund the federal Highway Trust Fund that gets 18.4 cents per gallon from gasoline, and is used to improve the roads. Sigh. To see tiny cars come out of a vending machine,


Transportation Secretary Mary Peters also said sales of midsize SUV fell 38 percent last month compared with last year. The love of tiny autos did lead to the creation of these amazing Smart Car vending machines, so there's that.

And when you do buy gas, you might want to bring your own measuring cup. In New Jersey, 350 gas stations have received tickets for cheating customers out of the full amount of gas they purchased.

Do we need to come up with an alternate way to pay for roads? Or are we just heading away from cars altogether?


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