Are Americans Falling Out of Love With Cars?

Drop in driving could be delayed reaction to gas prices—or not: Silver
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted May 6, 2009 4:58 PM CDT
Traffic is stopped on the northbound lanes of Pacific Coast Highway in Santa Monica, Calif., in this 2008 photo.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Is the fact that Americans are driving less even after the cost of gas has come down a sign that US attitudes are changing, Nate Silver asks in Esquire—or is it just another example of how slowly they respond to changes in fuel prices? “The real test,” he writes, “will come as the summer unfolds and Americans have had time to get ‘used to’ lower gas prices.”

Silver also posits a different explanation: The continuing drop reflects the time it takes for fed-up motorists to make permanent changes towards a more car-free lifestyle. The ever-slowing sales of the Big Three automakers, despite huge buyer incentives, support this, as do demographic shifts toward more alternate transportation-friendly cities like Portland and Seattle.