Ed Driscoll

Why are Americans Driving Less?

That’s the question that the Political Calculations blog asks, and no, the answer isn’t entirely what you may think it is at first glance — the oil prices have been increasing in recent months. Read the whole thing to see how they get to the conclusion, which we quote here:

What we see is that the percentage of unemployed and underemployed Americans has doubled from an annual average of 8.2% in 2006, when U.S. oil consumption peaked, to an annual average of 16.8% for 2010. Or rather, an increase of 8.6%.

We then observe that a sudden increase in the total unemployment and underemployment rate of 8.6% directly coincides with the period in which an 8% decrease in the actual amount of oil per person being consumed in the United States occurred.

That’s because Americans who lost their jobs or who have had to accept employment at lower levels during the last few years are pretty unlikely to be out consuming the same levels of oil that they would if they had jobs or were working in jobs that pay what they are capable of earning in a healthy economy.

And that would seem to be the real reason why the environmentalists of the National Resources Defense Council are so unbelievably delighted. To them, that’s a real unexpected success!

Just ask John Kerry.