While driving for about 11 hours to bring my son home from university, I was struck by the fact that high gas prices don’t seem to have reduced the number of cars on the road very noticeably. You can’t tell much from one day, but I haven’t noticed much difference in day-to-day driving either.
Gas prices have risen about 50% in my area over the last year and a half. Some days I imagine that there are fewer cars on the road, but other days I’m not so sure. It’s likely that more people are taking the bus, but the difference hasn’t been enough to shorten the duration of my commutes perceptibly.
Either demand for gasoline is less elastic than I would have guessed, or the effect is delayed. Perhaps, even if gas prices were to stabilize at current levels, demand would continue to drop as people feel the cumulative pain of paying high prices for a long time.
I had hoped that a small benefit of rising gas prices would be less congested roads. Has anyone else noticed a difference?