King County environmental trends improve

People in King County are driving less and using less gas.

These are trends that could provide long-term benefits for the environment, according to the latest Environment Benchmark report by King County, which provides a comprehensive look at environmental trends.

The data in the report covers gas consumption through 2008 and vehicle miles traveled through 2007. It indicates that per capita gasoline consumption has decreased more that 10 percent since 2001 and per capita vehicle miles traveled has declined 5 percent from its peak in 1999. Influenced by the downturn in the economy, these trends are expected to continue into 2009.

Also highlighted in the report was that total gasoline consumption has declined 4 percent since 2001, nearly 32 million gallons. Total vehicle miles traveled has leveled off recently, declining slightly in both 2006 and 2007 despite population increases.

About half of the streams sampled by the Stream Monitoring Program in 2007 were rated “high concern” on the Water Quality Index, an increase over past years.

King County uses the Benchmark Reports to gauge the effectiveness of growth management planning policies and to make changes to policies or programs that are not having a desired outcome.

The report is on the web at

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