Hot off the presses, Sightline has a new report today: Shifting Gears: Despite struggling economy, Northwest gasoline use ticks up.
Northwest consumers bucked a decade-long trend last year. In spite of the worst economy in recent history, we bought more gasoline per capita than the year before.
It was mainly a story about prices. By 2009, retail gasoline prices had fallen dramatically from the heights reached during the summer of 2008. So even in the face of falling employment and income, low prices meant more to Northwest drivers than light wallets.
The trend was especially pronounced in British Columbia, where per capita sales jumped up by nearly 10 percent—the largest year-over-year increase in at least three decades. One contributing factor was probably the economic activity preceding the 2010 Winter Olympics.
You can find the full “Shifting Gears” report here, including state-by-state analysis.
Maybe people are driving instead of flying between Seattle and Portland to save a few bucks. Or we’re all driving around looking for jobs…
This looks more like 2008 was an anomaly, with especially depressed sales due to the gasoline price spike. Otherwise, you have a nice decreasing trend over time, with significantly lower use in 2009 vs 2007.
Georgie Bright Kunkel
So many people are coming to the greater Seattle area to find workthat this may account for more gas consumption. Is that taken intoaccount in counting gallons at the pump?
After being underemployed in Seattle for two years, I had to move to Bellingham for a job. Now I find myself driving to Seattle to see friends and attend cultural events, and also driving more in Bellingham, because that’s easier when you are unfamiliar with a town than getting lost on bike or foot. I wonder how much this sort of work displacement affects people’s driving habits?