Driving Down At A Historic Rate

As gas goes up, driving is going down at a historic rate. The Department of Transportation said March saw the biggest drop in driving since 1942. So, are we seeing less traffic here in East Texas? In today's Pain at the Pump, KLTV 7's Courtney Lane set out to find those answers.

Many of you have already told us you're vacationing closer to home.

"I planned on driving to Florida but it'll probably be somewhere like Galveston," said Charla Dickerson.

"I think people are really starting to feel the pinch and are starting to say 'maybe we'll just have to vacation in the backyard," said spokesperson for the Texas Department of Transportation, Larry Krantz.

Americans are driving more than 4% less, according to figures from March. That's 11 billion fewer miles on the roadways, making this the biggest drop we've seen since 1942.

"The historical significance going back to 1942 is that there was gas rationing back then," said Krantz.  "It wasn't that there wasn't enough or that it was too expensive, it's just it was needed elsewhere."

Yet now more than 60 years later, it is the expense. Painful prices already surpassing $4.00 in some states and expected to here soon. Krantz said it's causing more East Texans to buy a bus ticket.

"Public transit numbers are way up over the last couple of months," said Krantz.

Yet so far in East Texas, Krantz said we're not seeing a decrease in the amount of traffic.

"Are we going to see a decrease in people commuting to work? Probably not," said Krantz.

Though with gas prices reaching a new record high every day, some East Texans said they're already organizing carpools to get to work.

Some local attractions like Texas Zip-Line Adventures and Tyler State Park said they were slammed with visitors this Memorial Day weekend... adding proof that more East Texans are staying close to home.

Courtney Lane, Reporting  clane@kltv.com