High gas prices may spur more people to use public transportation

The Bus

If gas prices rise too high, more people will start using public transportation rather than get personal loans to fill up the tank. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

A new study suggests that if gas prices reach $4 per gallon, it could make drivers so desperate that they might start using public transportation. The national average for a gallon of gas is still below $4 per gallon, so until pain at the pump sends people headed for the bus station, there are still plenty of ways to save on gas in the meantime.

Americans may have a limit when it comes to gasoline

A new study purports that Americans may soon be pushed to a breaking point when it comes to gas prices, according to USA Today. The study, by the American Public Transportation Association, asserts that if the price of gas rises to a national average of $4 per gallon, public transportation systems will deliver an additional 670 million trips per year. In other words, people will only be able to tolerate gas prices to a certain point before turning to cheaper alternatives, as few will stand for having to take out personal loans to fill up their tanks. The APTA also asserts that ridership will rise with each dollar more per gallon, estimating that $5 per gallon will result in an additional 1.5 billion rider trips per year, and $6 per gallon will result in an additional 2.9 billion trips per year.

Public transportation can save money

Utilizing public transportation can save a lot of money, though many avoid it because of a perceived lack of convenience. The American Public Transportation Association projects that at a national average gas price of $3.47 per gallon, riding the bus can save a person $825 per month, and up to $9,904 per year. This figure includes savings on gasoline and on parking. The national average cost of a monthly parking pass is estimated by the APTA to be $161.56 for a parking space in a downtown business district, which is less than a bus pass would cost.

Gas costs can be gotten around

There are ways to circumvent rising gas prices,  if a person does not want to take out installment loans to buy a new hybrid, according to CNN. There are such things as gas station coupons, though they can be hard to locate and usually are only for one gas station. Warehouse clubs, such as Costco and Sam’s Club, offer gas discounts to members, and some gas station rewards cards can offer steep discounts off the cost of a gallon of gas. However, any savings from a gas station credit card can be effectively nullified by a high interest rate, so purchases should be paid off immediately before allowing interest to accrue.


USA Today

American Public Transportation Association