Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Why aren’t younger Americans driving anymore?

Ever since the recession hit in late 2007, Americans have been driving less and less. Was that because of the horrible economy? To some extent, perhaps. But it’s striking that Americans are still cutting back on driving even though the economy is growing again.

Doug Short, who charts financial data, has put together a nice graph that uses the latest Transportation Department data on vehicle-miles driven and adjusts for population growth. Looked at this way, the plunge in driving is even more startling and began back in June  2005:

miles-driven-CNP16OV-adjusted  

A bit of historical perspective is useful. This isn’t the first time Americans have pared back their driving habits — after the OPEC oil shock in the late 1970s, miles driven fell about 6 percent from the peak, though they started climbing again by the end of the recession in 1982.

This time, however, the drop has been much more severe. Since June 2005, vehicle miles driven have fallen 8.75 percent. The decline has persisted for 92 months and there’s no sign it’s abating.

What’s happening? High gasoline prices are one obvious factor. The price at the pump has been lurching upward since 2005 and appears to be forcing people off the road:

For the rest of the story: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/04/22/why-arent-younger-americans-driving-anymore/

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