Wednesday, July 1, 2015

People are driving less

The US has just released an interesting report on the surprising reduction in fuel consumption that has been observed since 2005. This is contrary to the models that predicted in 2003 that there would be a significant increase in fuel consumption due to increasing economic conditions in the USA. The data shows that the bulk of the reduced fuel use is due to people driving less (see below from the report).
This trend is despite increasing real disposable income per capita, shown in the figure below from the report.

The report notes that there is limited research to explain this 'surprise'. Some potential reasons given include:

  • an aging population drives less
  • 'millennials' drive later and less
  • the internet is reducing the need to drive
  • the real cost of fuel has risen in the USA
Interestingly, there was no mention of how supportive land use, improved public transport or active transport infrastructure may be contributing to the reduced need for people to drive a car.

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