Recent studies show young Americans are driving less than in the past, with experts attributing the change to a weak economy and the rise of social networks, the Financial Times
The portion of 14- to 34-year-olds who don’t have a driver’s license rose to 26 percent in 2010 from 21 percent a decade earlier, according to figures from the Federal Highway Administration.
Meanwhile, the amount of bicycling, walking, and public transportation usage among 16- to 34-year-olds rose between 2001 and 2009, according to a study by the Frontier Group and the US PIRG Education Fund.
“The economy does have a fairly significant impact on driving,” Tony Dutzik, senior policy analyst at the Frontier Group, told the FT. “We know that young people . . . who work tend to drive more miles per year than people who don’t.”
But job losses don’t explain all of it, Dutzik said: “Even among young people who did have jobs, the amount of miles they were driving each year was falling.”
Facebook, Twitter, and the like may be playing a large role.
“With the rise of social media, people don’t do a lot of face-to-face getting together, so they don’t need cars as much,” Jeremy Anwyl, vice chairman of auto research web site Edmunds.com, told the FT.
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