In 2008, when gas prices spiked, the U.S. saw a noticeable decline in driving. But can high gas prices also encourage more people to live in cities where public transit is easily accessible?
Maybe if people knew how much they could save by taking public transportation.
American Public Transportation Association calculates (based on the average U.S. gas price on March 4, $3.47 per gallon) that individuals, on average, could save $825/month and $9,904/year by leaving the car in the garage and taking public transportation. The APTA says its the largest savings in two years.
Taking into account the cost of local gas prices, monthly transit passes, and local monthly unreserved parking, here’s the APTA’s list of the top 10 cities for transit savings:
1. New York City — $14,376 (annual savings)
2. Boston — $13,188
3. San Francisco — $13,055
4. Chicago — $11,889
5. Seattle — $11,682
6. Philadelphia — $11,487
7. Honolulu — $11,181
8. Los Angeles — $10,725
9. Minneapolis — $10,510
10. San Diego — $10,396
Of course, the savings would be much higher if drivers were paying the true cost of gasoline. If we lived in that world, governors who passed up money for high-speed rail wouldn’t be in office for long.
But even with prices that don’t come close to the true cost, taking public transportation is the clear economic winner, even if we don’t take into account the energy savings of living near public transit.
What do you think? Would you consider moving someplace more transit-friendly because of higher gas prices?
Photo: Kevin H./Flickr