From the left wing AlterNet, five reasons to love $4 gas.
1. The mass transit boom. As we have noted on this site, there is push for additional and better mass transit throughout the country and beyond. Ridership is up in many places that have existing mass transit, and many locations are considering installing new transit.
2. Lower obestity rates. I think this CAN happen with more walkable communities, more people using alternative commuting methods such as walking and bicycling, but I don't think this is happening yet. Walkability certainly can lead to lower obesity and better health, but $4 gas does not directly lead to lower obestity rates.
3. Fewer accidents. This again is caused by fewer cars on the road due to more use of alternative commuting methods, including mass transit. Less cars should also mean a little less road rage, reducing accidents even further. But again, we have not yet seen direct evidence of this yet.
4. Shorter commutes. Well, if I am any indication of a trend, this is happening. As we noted regarding Atlanta, more people are moving back into the city core, reducing commuting time. This trend started before $4 gas, but should continue as more people do the math that I've done.
5. The alternative fuels craze. We'll see where this leads, but there is certainly more publicity given to hybrids, ethanol, electric cars and the like these days. With GM continuing to experience a decline, could the big car companies' grip on transportation and petroleum-based cars be slipping? Again, we shall see.