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America is driving less, with teens leading the charge

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During the middle of the last decade, Americans were driving less for the first time in sixty years. Throughout the recession, many people sought ways to cut their spending. Teens have also been less likely to obtain a driver’s license, perhaps due to the influence of online life. Many baby boomers will also be retiring soon, resulting in even less driving. Many people have taken to walking, bicycling, public transportation, or car pooling to help ward off pollution and benefit the environment. Regardless, all of these factors suggest one prevailing trend: auto sales will likely decline somewhat substantially in the next decade.

The millenials of today will be the 30 and 40 year-olds of the next decade, a significant car buying demographic. If the attitudes of today’s youth carry over to the future, fewer people will be driving themselves to work and even more will be riding the bus or a subway. It seems that auto makers should enjoy this period of growth and success while it lasts, because some evidence suggests that the next decade will have much more moderate results for them, if not another period of slight decline.

One Comment

  1. See previous posts on this. It’s pretty hard to live without a car unless you’re in NYC or DC or Boston or SF, which admittedly account for a non-trivial slice of the US population. That’s even more the case with a family. So we’ll see whether this carries over as people age.

    May 19, 2013

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