Americans drove 11 billion fewer miles in March 2008 than in March 2007.
This suggests that either people are carpooling to work, not going to work, or making fewer and shorter pleasure trips — or all of the above. This should affect shopping behavior and by implication metropolitan retail patterns.
Combined with the slowing economy, presumably many people are shopping less. But are they shopping differently?
Many blogger-pundits seem to think that high gasoline prices will help create more sustainable urban environments with people shopping locally. I’m wondering if this is really the case.
Are more people supporting retailers — particularly grocery or food stores — closer to home rather than driving to a distant Wal-Mart Supercenter or Whole Foods Market? Or, are they shopping in the same stores but going less frequently and buying more while there?
I’m going to be looking for answers to these questions. In the meantime:
Has the high price of gasoline changed your shopping habits?
(They haven’t changed mine, but I live a block from a good shopping street, particularly for groceries, so have been shopping on foot for years. )