Over the last couple years, gas prices have been decreasing, which is great news for Americans. In the years before, we had to worry about where we could travel and how far, depending on the price we had to pay for gas. Now, more and more Americans (including our fleet fuel card members) are hitting the road for family trips, reunions, vacations, concerts, and other road-trip events.
…but that’s not exactly a good thing.
There’s a bad part about low gas prices and it’s the same part that’s good about them: more driving. Because there are more people on the road, the number of vehicle fatalities has actually gone up. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the number of fatalities increased by 7% between 2014 and 2015. That’s equivalent to 35,092 more deaths – the largest annual increase since 1966.
How Much More Driving?
You may be wondering just how much more Americans are driving. Well, in 2013, gas prices were higher (an average of $3.49) and Americans traveled 3 trillion miles that year. Just two years later, in 2015, gas prices dipped (to an average of $2.40) and Americans traveled 3.15 trillion miles.
So far this year, gas prices have been around $2.19, but the U.S. Energy Information Administration predicts they could hit an average of just $2.09 for the year. That lower average could result in even more traffic fatalities…
In addition to increased driving and increased fatalities, low gas prices also push people to buy cars, trucks, and SUVs that are less energy efficient; because they’re paying less in gas, they don’t mind buying a vehicle that uses more of it. However, this just adds to the emissions that are already polluting the country.
So while low gas prices may seem great, they have other consequences you may not realize.