Hitler’s Affect on Driving Behavior

by | Traveling

(from ST, Spedsta Member in New Jersey, USA)

In 1943 during World War 2, the above posters were published by the US Government to encourage people to save gas by joining “car sharing” programs and avoid driving alone. These messages were directed at the civilian population to do “their part” for the war effort. Although it is not clear what the impact of these messages were, it is clear that something had to be done to ensure that as gas prices and shortages increased, that the transportation needs of America were still met. In this case, gas supply shortages sparked people to do “car sharing” as an alternative mode of transportation.

Many academic studies have shown (Agthe and Billings, 1978; Wolff and Clark, 1982; Wane and Skinner, 1984; Litman, 2004; Haire and Machemehl, 2007; Currie and Phung, 2007; Currie and Phung, 2008; Lane, 2012) that gasoline prices do have a significant impact on people choosing alternative means of transportation from the car. In 2008, at the start of the recession gas prices nationally peaked at $4.11 with a corresponding increase of 3% in trips on mass transit (10.3 billion trips).  This corresponded to a decrease of 1.9% in vehicle-miles-travelled (an aggregate statistic used to measure the total amount of miles travelled by all the vehicles in the USA) or 56 billion miles between 2007 and 2008.   The “tipping” point for driving behavior to change seems to be when gas prices exceed $4 per gallon.

A recent conversation with a 27 year old young professional clearly articulated the choices that are being made for Generation Y and the New Millennial. She had recently made a decision to move from her 15 mpg SUV Truck to a 32 MPG fuel efficient Honda. The motivation? The high cost of gas prices.

Will the resurgence of RideSharing as an alternative form of transportation come from high gas prices, environmental pressures to decrease carbon emissions or from gas shortages (like a war)? It probably will not be just any ONE of these factors, but will be a combination of them and the fact that Ridesharing is truly a lot more enjoyable experience than “driving alone with Hitler”.

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