From a USA Today article, May 17, 2007 (emphasis added):
The average American motorist is driving substantially fewer miles for the first time in 26 years because of high gas prices and demographic shifts, according to a USA TODAY analysis of federal highway data.This gives me hope that maybe people can quickly change their habits when it really matters, and they just haven't felt the need until now.
[. . .]
Factors contributing to the slowdown:
•Soaring gas prices. Seven of 10 Americans are combining trips and taking other steps to reduce driving, according to a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll May 4-6. Don Harrison, 32, of Indianapolis, no longer visits his relatives across town on the weekend; he saves gas by simply calling them.
•Expanded public transportation. More people took public transit last year than at any time in 49 years. "We're seeing suburban locations create new transit systems," says William Millar, president of the American Public Transportation Association. "They're expanding into areas that never thought they needed transit because they could do everything by car."
[Note: this is a World Without Oil post, but the article quoted is real.]