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At $9 per gallon, British driving habits change

As more people opt for fewer car trips, carpooling, and public transportation, environmentalists point out that high fuel prices are also leading to reduced carbon emissions.

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Pump nozzle in hand, Lisa Atkins keeps a close eye on the digital display rapidly adding up the pounds. Gone are the days when she'd routinely fill the gas tank to the brim. She now has to be more cautious.

Ms. Atkins says the surging cost of fuel is discouraging her from taking to the wheel each time she needs to travel. "I'm driving less and less," she says. "Me and my nan [grandmother] go shopping together.... Weekends we try to just leave the car outside and walk everywhere local."

She's not the only one reacting to the $9 per gallon gas prices. Britons are driving less, opting instead for public transportation, car pools, and a reduced number of overall car trips. Recent surveys show that Britain is leading the way with the change in driving habits, probably because pump prices here are higher than the global average. British demand for gasoline fell by around 8 percent year-on-year in January and February.

Across the globe, governments are dealing with a string of protests by truckers, fishermen, and others stung by price hikes. The movement will escalate in Britain on Wednesday when thousands of truckers descend on London to demand urgent financial relief, with the threat of blockades and civil disobedience. Their protest follows Operation Escargot in France, during which truck drivers drove at a snail's pace to protest the high price of fuel, causing major traffic jams through June.

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