Forget $4, What About $9?

<p>With gas prices at more than $9 per gallon in Britain, driving habits are changing.</p>
July 8, 2008, 7am PDT | Nate Berg
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"Britons are driving less, opting instead for public transportation, car pools, and a reduced number of overall car trips. Recent surveys show that Britain is leading the way with the change in driving habits, probably because pump prices here are higher than the global average. British demand for gasoline fell by around 8 percent year-on-year in January and February."

"Across the globe, governments are dealing with a string of protests by truckers, fishermen, and others stung by price hikes. The movement will escalate in Britain on Wednesday when thousands of truckers descend on London to demand urgent financial relief, with the threat of blockades and civil disobedience. Their protest follows Operation Escargot in France, during which truck drivers drove at a snail's pace to protest the high price of fuel, causing major traffic jams through June."

"According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), a Paris-based think tank, the decline in driving is the same across Europe. "The rest of Europe is pretty much in line with that, although in the UK the effect is slightly higher because prices are higher [here] than elsewhere," says Eduardo Lopez, an oil market demand expert at the IEA."

"Gas stations in Britain are reporting unusual changes in buying patterns, says Alex Wells of the Petrol Retailers Association. 'Buying in the morning is down, but not so much in the afternoon,' he says. 'This is because second cars are being used less, the stay-at-home mums are driving less. They are doing the weekly shopping in one hit.'"

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Published on Tuesday, July 1, 2008 in The Christian Science Monitor
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