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Washington Drivers Under 35 Inadvertently Teamed Up with the Internet to Help Save the Environment

In a study recently conducted by Sightline, a Seattle-based environment and policy research nonprofit, residents of the Northwest are driving less as a direct result of increases in gas prices. According to the study, Washington State drivers used about 7.3 gallons of gasoline per person, per week in 2011. That was the lowest level of usage in the state since 1965, which by our quick mathematical calculations means that gas consumption is the lowest it's been in nearly 50 years.

The study breaks it down, attributing the shift in gas-usage to the driving habits of those under the age of 35. Well, that and the internet:

Young Americans have decreased their driving the most. In 2009, drivers between the age of 16 and 34 drove 23 percent less than their same-aged counterparts in 2001...[A]dvances in Internet and mobile technologies increasingly make "virtual mobility" a low-cost

substitute for the car. These same advances have boosted the convenience and utility of transit trips: even among households earning $70,000 per year or more, young people doubled their use of transit between 2001 and 2009. Pat on the back for the internet (and Al Gore!) for helping to save the environment. But is this when we cue studies that show trends that kids in the 21st century are increasingly more obese...

[Photo by Sightine]

· Shifting Into Reverse: Northwest gasoline consumption makes a modest decline [Sightline official site]
· Culture Review -- A 21st Century Epidemic: Childhood Obesity in North America [Journal of Young Investigators]