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Where Is the Bottom? Americans Continue to Drive Less and Less

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The downward slide continues.

Driving activity in America, adjusted for population, has hit a new low since before the economic downturn began. Doug Short, an independent analyst who evaluated data recently released by FHWA, finds that when controlling for population growth, it's been more than seven years, or 92 months, since American driving activity last ticked up -- a major break from historical trends.

The current per-capita reduction in driving has continued much longer than the longest previous period of contraction on record. The oil crisis of the 1970s and the stagflation of the early 1980s produced a decline in driving that took 61 months to reverse itself, again controlling for population growth. The current dip in driving rates has already lasted 50 percent longer than that. The average American is now driving as much as they were in 1995.

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