Nate Silver: Is American Car Culture on the Skids?

silver.JPG

Nate Silver, the stat-mining fortune teller behind FiveThirtyEight.com, has written a piece for Esquire
suggesting that Americans may be weaning themselves off their
collective auto addiction. Falling gas prices aside, driving has been
on the decline since late 2007, Silver notes. Taking factors like
population and unemployment into account, he wonders:

Could it be that there’s
been some sort of paradigm shift in Americans’ attitudes toward their
cars? Perhaps, given the exorbitant gas prices of last summer,
Americans realized that they weren’t quite as dependent on their
vehicles as they once thought they were.

Silver
also points out that between 2004 and 2008, cities that took the
biggest hit in home prices, like Las Vegas and Detroit, were "highly
car-dependent," while Portland, Oregon had the largest gains.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

STREETSBLOG USA

The High Price of Cheap Gas

|
At least on the surface, the big declines in gas prices we’ve seen over the past year seem like an unalloyed good. We save money at the pump, and we have more to spend on other things, But the cheap gas has serious hidden costs—more pollution, more energy consumption, more crashes and greater traffic congestion. […]

Test Driving a Hydrogen Car

|
Knowing that environmentally friendly cars aren’t the silver bullet that is going to solve all of our transportation problems (cleaner cars will probably increase demand for automobiles and could worsen sprawl and congestion) wasn’t enough to stop me from taking the chance to test drive one today at a luncheon held by the Women’s Transportation […]
Photo: Credit Now Auto Sales
STREETSBLOG USA

What Comes After the Auto Bubble?

|
Vehicle travel in the United States has experienced a resurgence in the last two-and-a-half years, following an unprecedented decade-long per-capita decline in driving. Low gas prices are likely a big reason why; recent increases in incomes and employment as well. But an additional factor has been relatively unexplored: the effect of changes in credit markets on vehicle purchasing and ownership.