Demand for gasoline has tumbled in recent years as fuel prices have soared and the country increasingly has focused on conservation.
The trend should be no surprise as the price of gasoline has doubled within the past decade.
Americans have had a love affair with the car since Henry Ford made personal transportation affordable and commonplace.
Oklahoma became a state less than a year before the Model T began production. Our towns and cities have been shaped by and designed for cars.
As fuel prices climbed steadily in the first half of the past decade, demand continued to jump year after year.
The recession predictably stalled growth, but some experts thought driving would pick up again as the economy recovered.
Instead, a report last week from the Federal Highway Administration shows that total miles driven has held flat. A movement to more fuel-efficient vehicles has caused the total number of gallons purchased throughout the country to fall.
America's love affair with cars may be over.
Just from my own family and the people I talk to, the price of fuel is now much more often considered when making decisions ranging from where to go for summer vacation to choosing which movie theater to visit on a Friday night.
Some local energy experts saw the change coming.
In 2005, the price of crude oil topped $60 a barrel for the first time, causing the price of gasoline to soar past $2 a gallon.
At the time, Bruce Bell, then chairman of the Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association of Oklahoma, said climbing prices would have to eventually lead the American public to focus on fuel conservation.
“We will reach a limit somewhere when the price of oil and all the other products it underlies will be so high that people are going to start using less,” Bell said in a June 27, 2005, interview with The Oklahoman. “They'll find ways to conserve. A lot of people thought that price was $40, and a lot said it was $50. But apparently we haven't found it yet.”
Turns out, the price was closer to $95, but when we hit the limit, we hit it hard.