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As gas goes up, driving goes down: Angus Reid survey

As high gas prices weigh heavily on the wallets of many BC families, they may be bringing good news for environmentalists, according to an Angus Reid survey released yesterday.

According to the survey, which was conducted online, 49 per cent of British Columbians are driving less than usual due to the recent price of gas. Twenty-five per cent said they filled up their cars less often than usual this year.

While some, nine percent, are dealing with their automobile cutbacks by taking transit more often, almost a quarter of those surveyed in BC are walking to destinations more often.

Fifteen per cent are biking more regularly, more than anywhere else in the country except Manitoba and Saskatchewan, where the percentage is the same.

Nine per cent of British Columbians carpooled more this year as well.

British Columbians seriously considering selling their cars are not alone either. They are joined by 10 per cent of the province, on top of the 8 per cent who sold their cars to buy more fuel efficient vehicles.

While the survey may seem a positive step forward for the green movement, however, an overview of last years statistics show that the Canadian drivers’ habits are fueled far more by finances than environmental concerns.

Last summer, when drivers were paying up to $1.50 per liter in some parts of the country and Angus Reid conducted the same survey, a whopping 62 per cent of Canadians were driving less than usual, compared to only 46 per cent nation wide this year.

Canadians walking more than usual went down from 27 per cent in 2008 to 21 per cent this year, and 5 percent fewer people are carpooling more frequently than usual.

In 2009, 34 per cent of Canadians didn’t change their driving habits at all as a result of gas prices.

Christine McLaren reports for The Tyee

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