According to CNN, Americans drove 1.4 billion fewer highway miles in April of this year, as compared to April of 2007. Now, why is certainly no mystery. I am curious to know, however, what everyone is doing to cut back on so many miles. Carpooling? Walking? Bus riding?
The article also says that Americans are buying smaller cars, which makes sense. But what to do when you can't drive a smaller car, like this family of seven in Ohio.
Now, I think we all agree that the halcyon days of $1.50/gallon gasoline are over. And at least we haven't descended into chaos over our new fuel cost reality. But really, I wonder how we will cope with our fuel and driving addiction in this country, vis-a-vis ever mounting gasoline costs.
Many Americans are at a disadvantage. Our family is fortunate enough to live a walkable distance to town, with sidewalks all the way. Most Americans, however, do not. Many Americans also have larger families, which makes using transportation other than their own vehicles, impractical at best. Walkable Urbanism is the new buzz word on this topic, and refers to people moving from the suburbs and rural outposts back into the cities, where public transportation is readily available and most necessities are a walkable distance from home. It has also been used to describe the redesign of existing suburban towns to promote walking.
Being an ex-New Yorker, I'm all for walking more. But Walkable Urbanism is an expensive solution. Who pays for all of suburban America to be redesigned? And moving back to the cities? Who pays for that? As Derek Hunter says in the NPR story, moving a family of seven from Lima, OH to New York City hardly seems like an affordable solution to their family's current fuel cost crisis.
So, what's the solution? How is your family coping with the rising cost of fuel? And what are your plans for the long term?