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Sunday, May 25, 2008

Slow and Courteous Driving Return to the Road

I witnessed in shock a dramatic change in motorist behavior that I thought could never happen - motorists slowed down..... and are courteous.

The economists were right on to predict a major behavioral shift when gas breach $4 per gallon (they said it happened at $2.50, $3.00 and so on). Gas prices in my neighborhood officially broke through that level 4 days prior on Wed May 21st, and just like magic, the world around here instantly slowed.

I have been seeing fewer cars on the road for a while, but yet to observe much of a change in driving behaviors for the road warriors- until now. I am usually the only motorist, and usually the last of the pack, who will roll slowly into a red-light stop. Often eager drivers will pass by me, to my befuddlement, and accelerate into the stop 100 feet ahead. But now, many motorists are matching me step by step, and at times, unimaginably, are even slower.

On the highway I trailed behind a van that cruised at a whopping 40 mile per hour on the slow lane, and what is even more surprising was that there were more cars cruising behind me.

It dawned on me that WE ALL KNEW ALL ALONG. We knew that driving fast and hard wastes gas, and surely we know SUVs are not helping. We just didn't care until now the gas prices are punishing anyone not caring. It was not the case that we didn't know, as I had thought all these times.

So we probably knew all along our role in carbon emissions, and we knew all along our role in environmental destruction.

While no one likes high prices, I whole heartedly believe high prices of living will be the best incentives for consumers to cut down on wastes. In some strange ways, I actually hope the prices get a little higher.

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