Is it possible that we are actually changing our driving habits? In a recent Esquire story, Nate Silver makes a convincing argument for “The End of Car Culture”. A bad economy and high gas prices are not the only factors fueling this change.
According to the Federal Highway Administration, Americans have driven less for 15 consecutive months. Now, I can understand the decline in driving when gas prices spiked last summer, but the trend has continued even after the gas prices fell. This is a dramatic adjustment from our past behavior.
The bad economy and high unemployment can also be credited with a decline in driving, but there seems to be more at work here. We seem to be trying to wean ourselves from our car dependency. For further evidence, just look at the decline in auto sales over the last 18 months.
One other trend to follow is housing prices. In the last 4 years, cities equipped with superior alternate modes of transportation have seen large gains in the price of housing while cities that are highly dependant on cars have seen sharp declines.
I have been reading a book by Chris Balish entitled “How To Live Well Without Owning A Car”. Click on this link to read the book through Google books. It is a good read and he raises some excellent points:
Save money, breathe easier, and get more mileage out of life.
You may be surprised at the actual monthly cost of owning a car and how much you could save without one. Maybe you are a multiple car family and could get by with one less car?
Well, I hope this trend continues. Reducing the miles driven has so many positive effects on our daily lives. Are you driving less than a year ago? Do you have plans to reduce your driving in the coming months? I hope so, let me know.