Transportation experts and some law enforcement professionals caution that it’s too soon to establish a link between gas prices and driving speeds. “Even if state troopers find that people are slowing down, that doesn’t necessarily mean drivers are consciously driving slower to conserve on gas,” says Chandra Bhat, professor of transportation engineering at the University of Texas. “It could be that gas prices are making people drive shorter distances, and when people travel shorter distances, speeds tend to be slower. Or it could be that people are downsizing to vehicles with less power, and less power means lower speeds. Or it could be that people are more wary and they don’t want to risk being ticketed,” Bhat says.
Drivers Slow Down as Costs Accelerate