It seems that New Mexico has been at the center of many of my recent posts, mostly in the negative context. I’m happy to say that New Mexico is giving us a positive story. It seems that a New Mexico statistician has found a silver lining to the rising gas prices.
KRQE of Albuquerque, New Mexico reports that Steven Flint, head statistician at the Albuquerque DWI Resource Center, has found a correlation between gas prices and DUI rates. According to Flint, when gas prices increase, gas sales do not necessarily decrease. This tends to show that drivers are still buying gas as they normally would, however they’re more conscientious about how the gas is used. As a result, instead of heading off to the bar, people drink at home to conserve their precious gas miles.
New Mexico gas prices in 2007 were an average of $3.20 per gallon. Gas prices reached $4.00 per gallon for the first time in New Mexico in 2008. The DWI Resource Center found that, in that time, the number of alcohol related crash deaths fell by 19 percent.
More recently, statistics from 2011 and 2012 showed that in months when gas prices rose above $3.50 per gallon, alcohol related crash deaths decreased by 15 percent. In months when gas prices fell below $3.50 per gallon, alcohol related crash deaths increased by 6 percent.
“People would be drinking alcohol at home more often,” said Sergeant Zak Cottrell of the Albuquerque Police Department. “They’re not spending the money on gas to go out to the bars and drink and then drive home.”
So while our pockets may take a hit when gas prices soar, at least we can take comfort in knowing that our streets may just be a little bit safer when they do.