Feeling the pinch at the pump? Starting to rethink your extracurricular driving activities?

You’re not alone…

Compared with March a year earlier, Americans drove an estimated 4.3 percent less — that’s 11 billion fewer miles, the DOT’s Federal Highway Administration said Monday, calling it “the sharpest yearly drop for any month in FHWA history.” Records have been kept since 1942.

According to AAA, for the first time since 2002, Americans said they were planning to drive less over the Memorial Day weekend than they did the year before.

Driving less means spending less which means pulling ourselves from the brink of recession is becoming less and less likely.

And now, more than ever, our country’s public transportation systems are being utilized…

Some Americans have turned to public transportation. Ridership increased by 2.1 percent in 2007, in part because of rising gas prices, according to the American Public Transportation Association.

Americans took 10.3 billion trips on public transportation in 2007, the highest level in 50 years, the group said.

My question is how many of these folks will keep up their public transportation habits if gas prices drop? And are higher oil prices really that bad?

The answer is complicated. On one hand higher oil prices force us to consider other means of transportation, and that’s definitely a good thing. But what doesn’t stop are the rising costs of driving all of the things we buy across the country via semi, especially food. And as that gets more expensive, we pay the price.

Now, more than ever, a massive investment in alternative fuel sources is needed. Otherwise inflation will continue to drive up the cost of everything and we won’t be able to avoid feeling the pinch of higher gas prices simply by driving less.

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