Americans driving less as car culture wanes

August 30, 2013

An Associated Press story by Joan Lowy

WASHINGTON — Driving in America has stalled, leading researchers to ask: Is the national love affair with the automobile over?

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… Just this week, the Federal Highway Administration reported vehicle miles traveled during the first half of 2013 were down slightly, continuing the trend.

Even more telling, the average number of miles drivers individually rack up peaked in July 2004 at just over 900 per month…

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…

Phineas Baxandall, senior analyst for the liberal U.S. Public Interest Research Group, says driving declines mean [highway] transportation dollars could be put to other uses…

Read the rest of the story in the Detroit Free Press, August 29, 2013.

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