"After rising for decades, total vehicle use in the U.S. — the collective miles people drive — peaked in August 2007. It then dropped sharply during the Great Recession and has largely plateaued since, even though the economy is recovering and the population growing."
"... the average number of miles drivers individually rack up peaked in July 2004 at just over 900 per month..."
"By July of last year, that had fallen to 820 miles per month..."
"... the share of people in their teens, 20s and 30s with driver's licenses has been dropping significantly..."
"Researchers are divided on the reasons behind the trends. One camp says the changes are almost entirely linked to the economy."
"The other camp acknowledges that economic factors are important but says the decline in driving also reflects fundamental changes in the way Americans view the automobile. For commuters stuck in traffic, getting into a car no longer correlates with fun. It's also becoming more of a headache to own a car in central cities and downright difficult to park."
"Lifestyles are also changing. People are doing more of their shopping online. More people are taking public transit than ever before. And biking and walking to work and for recreation are on the rise.Social networking online may also be substituting for some trips.""Demographic changes are also a factor. The peak driving years for most people are between ages 45 and 55 when they are the height of their careers and have more money to spend, said transportation analyst Alan Pisarski, author of "Commuting in America." Now, the last of the baby boomers — the giant cohort born between 1946 and 1964 — are moving out of their peak driving years."
"There's also a driving gender gap. In a role reversal, there are now more women than men in the U.S. with driver's licenses"
"There are several economic factors that help explain the trends. Driving declines exactly mirror job losses among men during the recession, when male-dominated industries like manufacturing and construction were especially hard hit, researchers said. But average automobile use has declined recently even among those who have remained employed.Economists say many Americans, especially teens and young adults, are finding that buying and owning a car stretches their financial resources. The average price of a new car is $31,000...""Then there's the cost of insurance, maintenance and parking. The price of gas has gone up dramatically over the past decade.The share of younger workers who can find jobs is at an especially low ebb, while the cost of a college education — and with it student loans — is soaring.""18- to 20-year-olds were three times more likely to have a driver's license if they lived in a household with an annual income above $100,000 than if they lived in a household with an income below $20,000."
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
Are People Driving Less Because Of The Economy Or Something Else?
See Americans Driving Less as Car Culture Wanes by JOAN LOWY of the Associated Press. Excerpts: