Have you noticed less people, especially young people, driving? Familiar with anyone who commutes to work with a bike or on bus rather than a car? If so, you’re not alone. A recent New Y0rk Times article provocatively titled “The End of Car Culture” puts forward the hypothesis that automobile use has peaked and will continue to decline in the future.
Are cars becoming a less common mode of transport in the United States? The answer is an unequivocal yes, but there are some caveats. Consider: adjusted for population growth, the number of miles driven in the U.S. has been dropping steadily since 2005. The rates of car ownership per household are declining as well, as is the percent of young people with drivers’ licenses. Meanwhile, commuting by bike and public transport are increasing while car share programs like Zipcar are flourishing. (Zipcar, in particular, is closing in on a million members with a fleet of 10,000 cars.)
It’s undeniable the car culture of the ’50s and ’60s that led to the creation of the suburbs and the national highway system represented the peak of interest in cars. Their use has been slipping ever since, and more prominently in the last decade as the use of alternatives have risen along with skyrocketing gas prices. Still, cars aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. There’s a long way to go before most residents can realistically go without them entirely. But if you’re thinking of selling your scrap car, remember one group still very interested in cars is the junk car removal industry.