Some would argue that the economy is responsible for Americans cooling on their love for driving. Others might suggest that the computer on wheels that is the modern automobile prohibits the gear-head from lifting the hood and tinkering with his ride. Outside of owning a diagnostic machine you just don’t get close to your car anymore. Replacing a fan belt often requires an engine hoist. The average car, for example a late model Honda Accord has more than 700 meters of wiring, where a 68′ Chevy Nova had 14 meters.
Americans driving less now than the past decade
For whatever reason, the average American is driving considerably less than in past decades. The average number of miles drivers individually traveled reached its acme in July 2004 at just over 900 per month, said a study by Transportation Department economists Don Pickrell and David Pace.
By July of last year, that had fallen to 820 miles per month, down about 9 percent. Per capita automobile use is now back to the same levels as in the late 1990s.
Lack of parking spots are a problem
There are only 3.5 cities in the United States that truly make the car a dispensable item. New York, Boston, and San Francisco. Chicago picks up the half point. People will certainly argue with this, but it’s largely true. And a lack of parking spots, particularly in Boston, is to blame. For anyone living in these cities, renting a car each weekend in a month is considerably cheaper than parking, gas, insurance, car payments and the hassle of it all.
The driver’s license is no longer the badge of honor or rite of passage it once was, as the amount of teens with licenses remains on the decline. And let’s face it, you don’t need a car to play Call of Duty III.
“The idea that the car means freedom, I think, is over,” said travel behavior analyst Nancy McGuckin.
To say nothing of the fact that Route 66 is overwrought by fast food establishments and jack-booted thugs just waiting for out-of-state plates with their radar guns.
There are also large parts of this country that pull you over if you have a tan, or happen to be Latino or—heaven forbid—black.
American drunk driving limits lowered
Nearly every state has lowered their drunk driving limits to 0.08 as well. A conviction costs thousands upon thousands of dollars and has cost many their jobs as well.
The suggestion that driving has declined simply because of economics is quite the stretch. That said, the price of a new car is fairly foreboding as well.
American car prices are too high for many
The average price of a new car is $31,000, according to the industry-aligned Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Mich. “We’re not selling to everyone. We’re selling to upper-middle class to upper class,” said Sean McAlinden, the center’s chief economist. The rest of the public, he said, buys used cars or takes the bus.
Never mind that we also have online shopping, and needn’t go to the mall nearly as much any longer.