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GRAPHIC: Americans Are Spending Less on Transportation

Monday, October 11, 2010 - 08:07 PM

(Alex Goldmark, Transportation Nation) The NY Times cooked up this handy graphic. Look at how the only category where Americans significantly scaled back spending this year is transportation.

What's causing the disproportionate transportation belt-tightening then? Well it is not that gas prices are cheaper than 2009,  as AAA's Daily Fuel Guage shows. In fact, gasoline prices have been on a steady increase since right about January 2009, according to the Department of Energy's Energy Information Association.

Maybe the answer is public transit. As Andrew Price at GOOD points out, public transportation ridership hit an all-time high in 2009. We'll have to wait for 2010 data to see if America hits a new transit high to confirm the theory, but it could just be easier to squelch that extra road trip, than it is not to ask the kids to go without new clothes or a doctor's visit.

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Comments [2]

John L. Wilson

It most certainly is gasoline. Averaged over the year, pump prices fell about 90 cents from 2008 to 2009.

Oct. 12 2010 12:08 PM
Michelle Ernst

Very interesting. But I suspect the issue is not a significant change in everyday travel but in recreational trips. According to the FHWA's Travel Volume Trends (http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/ohim/tvtw/09dectvt/index.cfm) driving through 2009 was up slightly (0.2%) over 2008. The Consumer Expenditure Survey data cited here includes trips by commercial airline and cruise ship. I suspect the biggest change in transportation expenditures is that people took fewer (or cheaper) flights last year.

Oct. 12 2010 09:35 AM

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