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Car Culture

Nate Silver: Is American Car Culture on the Skids?

3:58 PM PDT on May 7, 2009

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'sbeen some sort of paradigm shift in Americans' attitudes toward theircars? Perhaps, given the exorbitant gas prices of last summer,Americans realized that they weren't quite as dependent on theirvehicles 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.

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