As usual the approach of spring in Southeast Michigan comes with rising gas prices, but this year some drivers in the area are actually starting to adapt their behavior. After a brief dip down to $1.91/gallon at the beginning of the year, prices in the area are now hovering in the $2.60-2.70/gallon range. Michigan drivers are reflecting a pattern seen around the country where car sales went up from 2005 to 2006 while SUV sales dropped.

Hefty commutes are not uncommon in southeast Michigan where, for example, people may live somewhere like Pontiac and drive into Detroit daily. Even the perennially poor ridership on buses in the region has been climbing in the last two years. Use of the suburban Detroit SMART regional bus system has climbed twenty-five percent since 2002, and the Detroit Department of Transportation reported that their ridership was up ten percent in 2006 from the previous year. Between reduced fuel bills, car payments and parking fees some people are saving thousands of dollars a year by taking the bus instead of driving.

[Source: Detroit News]

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