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Drivers Unfazed by Gas Prices

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CALGARY, Canada – Gasoline prices are climbing above a dollar. Headlines scream oil has reached a record $75 US a barrel. It costs more to fill your car, but is it enough to drive consumers to transit, the bike paths or more fuel-efficient vehicles? Apparently not.

Drivers Unfazed by Gas Prices

CALGARY, Canada – Gasoline prices are climbing above a dollar. Headlines scream oil has reached a record $75 US a barrel. It costs more to fill your car, but is it enough to drive consumers to transit, the bike paths or more fuel-efficient vehicles? Apparently not.
That feeling is backed by industry experts who say there is no magic price per litre that drives down demand for fuel. Skyrocketing gas prices, it seems, have little impact on behaviour other than to increase the level of complaining. Michal Moore, with the University of Calgary’s Institute for Sustainable Energy, Environment and Economy, said high prices may lead some people to make lifestyle changes – but they’re short-lived.
"They have a lifespan of two or three months, then they’re off the wagon," he said. "In that window when gas prices go up, people grouse and complain and then adapt."
"We’ve seen huge price swings over the last 10 years without any discernible change in demand," he said. "It’s as if the price doesn’t change at all."
As an example, in the U.S. the price of gas went up about 20 % between 2004 and 2005. Demand dropped by less than %.

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