DENVER — When filling up a car with gas, most feel the familiar pang of dread start to set in. The price seems to race up, unrelenting, with no signs of stopping. Now that gas prices have started to rise again (despite the price of crude-oil falling to a six-year low), saving on fuel in any way probably sounds appealing.
Though it seems that many are on board with the idea of fuel-efficiency—the lowered costs, the environmental benefits—not many have been walking the walk, per se.
Using data from the National Historical Geographic Information System (NHGIS), MooseRoots visualized the way green transportation (everything excluding driving alone) to work has changed over time. The results, unfortunately, aren’t very promising.
Press the play button to see the rates change from 1980 to 2010.
As it turns out, decreases in carpooling rates are responsible for the majority of the negative change in green transportation across the country. As a whole, fuel-efficient transportation decreased nationwide by 13.7 percent. Carpooling decreased by 9.7 percent.
This may come as a surprise to some, since getting access to carpool lanes is usually a surefire and simple way to save time (and gas).
In the 1970s, about one in four Americans carpooled to work. Big companies that employed much of an area’s community organized rideshares for employees. Now, more companies have emerged and are spread out. Americans are wealthier overall than they were decades ago and can afford to buy cars, which are now cheaper to own.
According to the New York Times, people “thought they were getting some help from amendments to the Clean Air Act in 1990 that would have required many companies to develop plans to increase car-pooling and mass transit use. But Congress, after hearing from critics who said the proposal was unworkable, scrapped the idea in the mid-’90s.”
Perhaps getting a ride from a coworker now and then would help ease your economic woes.
MooseRoots found the states with the biggest negative change in walking, biking, using public transportation and carpooling rates from 1980 to 2010.
As a whole, the United States has seen a 13.7 percent decrease in the use of green transportation since 1980.
The walking rate in North Dakota decreased by 10.5 percent, the highest in the nation.
The biking rate in Arizona decreased by 0.6 percent, the highest in the nation.
The public transportation rate in Illinois decreased by 3.2 percent, the highest in the nation.