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Colorado Springs Gazette

Coloradans Driving a Bit Less, Study Says

Since 2005, residents have trimmed the miles they travel in their vehicles by 11.4 percent
Garrison Wells

Hit by high gas prices, the troubled economy and changing attitudes, Coloradans are cutting back on driving.

Since 2005, residents have trimmed the miles they travel in their vehicles by 11.4 percent, according to a report by Colorado Public Interest Research Group, a consumer advocate.

"That means Coloradans are driving 1,172 miles less than they were in 2005," said Quinn Chasan, CoPirg associate.

Driving by men has declined in every age group except those 65 or older, where it increased slightly. Among women, driving declined only among young adults and teenagers.

The decline in driving has important public policy implications.

Among the potential benefits are less pollution, less dependence on foreign oil, reduced greenhouse gas emissions and fewer fatalities and injuries.

But less driving also means less federal and state gas tax revenues, further reducing funds already in short supply for both highway and transit improvements.

On the other hand, less driving may also mean less traffic congestion, although the impact on congestion may vary regionally.

Phineas Baxandall, senior analyst for the liberal U.S. Public Interest Research Group, says driving declines mean transportation dollars could be put to other uses.

"You just don't want to spend money you don't have for highways you don't need," he said.

CoPirg's Chasan agrees, calling for a shift in where transportation dollars are spent away from highways and more toward alternatives, such as public transportation.

 "Colorado's decreased driving is here to stay" he said. "State and local officials are poised to spend millions of dollars on road projects in the next decade. It's time for our public officials to press the reset button on the way they view public transportation policies."

To read more, visit the article here.

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