Local News

Local drivers change driving patterns

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The price of gasoline is hitting us where it hurts. The U.S. Energy Department reports gas has risen another 15 cents in just the past week.

Driving patters are changing in the Bay Area. At a gas station in San Francisco, a gallon of regular gas is $4.17 and that's consistent with the rate of increase nationwide.

On average, gas prices have gone up 23 percent from last year.

The casual carpool lines in San Francisco are getting longer. It is a direct result of the price of gasoline, which is only getting higher.

Passengers say it's a win-win situation. They get a free ride while the driver gets to use the carpool lane.

Naty Silvero is from El Sobrante.

"You say you're doing it more often now?" asked ABC7's Lilian Kim.

Because of the high gas prices," said Silvero.

"Really, so how often do you do this now?" asked ABC7's Lilian Kim.

"Almost every day now," said Silvero.

The high gas prices seem to be affecting just about every sector of transpiration.

Ridership on BART for instance, is way up. In April, there were nearly 25,000 more passengers who rode BART compared to the same time last year.

Membership in the car sharing service Zipcar is also on the uptick. In fact, it's seeing exponential growth.

"As soon as I say gas and insurance is included, boom, it's a done deal. They're actually beside themselves thinking gas is included?" said Jennifer Payne-Sleight from Zipcar.

Others, meanwhile, are turning to two-wheel vehicles. At Vespa San Francisco, as many as 60 scooters are being sold every month.

They average 65 miles per gallon and are cheap to fill up.

"Last week I spent $6 dollars to fill up the tank. This week it's gone up 15 cents or something like that? It's going to cost me maybe another 45 cents to fill up my tank. I'm really not going to feel it," said Tanya Crisci from Vespa San Francisco.

No telling how long the rising gas prices will last, but some experts predict we could soon see $4.50 a gallon. That's a price so high, it could convince Bay Area residents to stay put this summer.

If that's the case, Six Fags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo is offering a deal to locals. They're rolling back the gate price by $10, $20 from the Internet.

"I think that's the strategy a lot of us here are looking at. We're around the corner. We're a neighbor," said Nancy Chan from Six Flags Discovery Kingdom.

As for people who do plan to travel this summer, it is obviously is going to cost more to do so. Everything is going up from rental cars to airfare.

Interesting facts:

Golden Gate Bridge commuters in March 2008 compared to March 2007
Down 1.25 percent, 21,151 vehicles in March

Bay Bridge commuters in March 2008 compared to March 2007
Down 1 percent, 1,000 vehicles/day

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