What happened to bicycling levels and bike sales last time gas prices spiked in 2008? What might happen now that gas prices are rising above $4/gallon again? Our one-page document, Gas Prices and Bicycling, explains what we believe about how high fuel prices affect bicycling in the U.S.
We also completed a survey of more than 150 bicycle retailers from nearly 40 states to see if their summer 2008 sales reflected an increase in the use of bicycles for transportation.
The majority of retailers who responded said their sales of transportation-related bicycles, accessories, and service have increased in 2008 compared to 2007:
- 73% said they are selling more bikes.
- 84% said they are selling more accessories.
- 88% said they are selling more service.
Is this increase in sales because of high gas prices? Most retailers who we surveyed think so:
- 95% of shops said customers cited high gas prices as a reason for their transportation-related purchases.
- 80% of retailers said gas prices were helping them sell more bikes for transportation.
- 86% thought accessory sales were getting a boost.
- 89% said they were selling more service because of high gas prices.
Many new customers are dusting off old bikes and bringing them in for repair. There appears to be a surge of interest in riding bicycles for short trips, errands, and commuting.
These survey results paint a clear picture of bicycling as a simple, affordable transportation solution and reinforce the need to create safe, appealing places to ride. Now is a prime time to encourage people to use bikes for transportation. It’s good for the wallet, health, the environment—and it’s fun.