Braking News: Gas Consumption Goes Into Reverse

According to this new Sightline report, Washington, Oregon, and Idaho have cut back on per capita gas consumption by 11 percent from 1999 to 2007, or nearly a gallon a week on average. Weekly gas sales in the Northwest states declined from 8.7 gallons per person to 7.8 gallons, almost a gallon less than the US national average and a four-decade low for the region.
Braking news: Gas consumption goes into reverse
Go to the press release
See other reports on gasoline consumption in the Northwest

Brief summary: Gas Consumption is Down

  • We’re guzzling less gas. Measured per capita, gas consumption in the Pacific Northwest states has fallen to its lowest level since 1966. Per-person gas consumption in the region has declined in seven of the last eight years; and climate-warming CO2 emissions from gasoline have fallen by six-tenths of a ton per capita in the region since 1999. That decline in per capita gasoline consumption—11 percent, overall—is the equivalent of every driver in the Northwest taking a five-week holiday from driving in 2007.
  • We’re shifting our travel habits. Prompted by rising gas prices, drivers and families have taken steps to limit fuel consumption on multiple fronts. Throughout the Pacific Northwest, transit ridership has increased steadily; new vehicle efficiency has improved modestly; and transit- and pedestrian-friendly development has made strides in our major cities.
  • We’re growing. Rising population has almost exactly offset the decline in per capita gas consumption—meaning that total gasoline sales and gasoline-related greenhouse gas emissions have remained roughly flat in the region for nine consecutive years.
  • Smart policies are key to further progress. The right policy environment— such as including transportation fuels in a regional cap-and-trade system— would prompt continued reductions in our region’s gasoline consumption.

Published: April 17, 2008