Urban Farming News

Car Dependency Decreasing

Posted in climate stabilization, fossil fuels by Urban Farming News on January 8, 2010

Apparently American’s are relying less on cars, finally. My curiosity was peaked when I bumped into Steven T. Jone’s article “Has car ownership peaked? Let’s hope so” in the San Francisco Bay Guardian. As a commuter cyclist, user of public transit and recreational walker. I try to limit my driving to 1-2 trips per week. Don’t scoff; I’ve pulled this off in Los Angeles, Madison and San Francisco Nonetheless, I am curious about this trend.

According to the Earth Policy Institute, in the past year we scrapped 14 million cars. American’s only purchased 10 million. Math check; that equals 4 million less cars on the road. Great. If the trend continues, we will be down another few million in a couple years.

What’s the cause of this? The usual symptoms of course; market saturation, economic uncertainty, climate change concerns, fuel insecurity, people sick of sitting traffic, hipsters taking over the world with single speeds…

Above all, this is a really interesting trend. Many cities are upping restrictions on car use by increasing parking fees and extending meter hours.  The day I discovered $3.00 per hour parking was a rude awakening indeed. As a relatively “young” person I will be the first to admit that my pocket book is thin. Cars are expensive. Families are sharing cars, fewer teens are getting their driver’s licenses and cities are pushing for public transportation.

If you’ve taken a bus lately, you know how badly we need to improve public transit. Perhaps you’ve battled commuter traffic on the Bay Bridge. I was even appalled at the cross-town traffic in my lovely hometown of Madison! Ranting and raving doesn’t help much, however we’ve got to be aware of the trends. The stats are mere facts; please draw your own conclusions.