Silver Lining? High Gas Prices Seem To Keep Cars Off Roads

CHICAGO (CBS) — There are signs the gasoline price crisis may be making Chicago traffic jams a little easier to bear, CBS 2’s Mike Parker reports.

Motorist Christian Wagner was bent over the pump at a Shell station at Van Buren and Morgan, trying to fill up at $4.39 a gallon.

“They only let you charge 80 bucks here and it doesn’t fill the tank,” he pointed out.

But the staggering cost of gasoline may, in another way, be making life a little easier for drivers. Statistics from the U.S. Department of Transportation show that when crude oil prices, and gasoline prices go up -– the number of miles driven each day, goes down.

Maybe that’s why so many drivers we talked with, think their commutes have been easier lately.

“I noticed that this morning, I flew in,” said Mike Rhodes. “I flew in to downtown. I thought it was maybe a holiday.”

Madison Street at Wells in the Loop, seemed strangely quiet during the afternoon rush hour.

And CBS2 drove the outbound Kennedy, headed for the airport at 40 miles an hour. The total traffic time, according to WBBM Newsradio 780 was 33 minutes.

Sgt. Juan Valenzuela of the Illinois State Police said, “I’ve noticed it too. The rush hours don’t seem to be the rush hours they used to be.”

Several commuters said they have switched to taking the CTA or Metra because it is simply too expensive to drive anymore.

  • Christian Barrera

    Yea high gas prices will keep certain driver’s off the road and feep them out of stores, malls, amusment parks, museums and even keep them from purchasing the nesseceties of life

  • Jim Schwake

    It’s our fault as consumers. We drive no matter what the price because we allow the oil companies, refiners, and dealers to charge whatever and whenever they want to with the media reporting birds pooping in the ocean is thhe cause.Just an anology. Walk take transt if we can, or, drive and fill the pockets of the above venues.

    • Jim

      It’s not as easy as you make it out to be. If electricity goes up we can use solar, geothermal, and/or wind power as there are options. I am not able to bike to work, or I would, as it would add an hour to each way; walking…definitely not an option. I drive to work 5 days a week, but go to the stores 1 day (planned trip to hit multiple stores) now. People need to drive if they do not live in the city because the RTA does a good job in Chicago and poor job in the collar counties. This is more an issue with US policy, not to mention us allowing speculators to artificially raise prices for no reason (I’m not getting into that problem now), than anything.



    • Jim

      We should keep our current tax system in place, but add a provision that makes a minimum tax liability as a percentage. I know my numbers will be off, but for example if a company writes off enough to pay $0 they are forced to pay a minimum of 5% of their net profits prior to all the loopholes. That would generate billions per year in tax revenue for our nation while not affecting the hard working people that do not have 100+ employees looking for every loophole under the sun.

  • Francess

    If cars were ready to sell for a buck and runs on water rather than on oil I will buy them all from the lot. Believe me. I need a VW or a Jeep that can take me to work and back. If it was solar panneled and run on heat from the sun… that one will be even more affordable to all of us who love SUVs and large vans to carry our 8 children on our way to DisneyWorld or the Floriada Everglades.
    We just need a vacation and for that we need large vans and cars
    Olsmobile are nice to drive but if it runs on electricity would be much more affordable for all of us.

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