Americans grumbled but they paid $2.00, and then $3.00 a gallon gas. Economists who study such things say U.S. drivers in a growing economy simply endured those price spikes, spending less elsewhere rather than changing their driving habits. But now, according to The Wall Street Journal [sub], those same economists see a broadly-troubled economy in which everything from food to health care costs more. The shift in both perception and reality is finally forcing Americans to drive less, and even to take (gasp!) public transportation. To wit: domestic gasoline consumption declined by 1.1 percent in the past six weeks. Lehman Brothers analyst Adam Robinson calls the potential for a long term conservation effort by Americans, "a major structural change in the market." Peak Oilers call it, "demand destruction." The working poor call it "more of the same."
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