America will start the year 2010 with four million fewer cars on its roads than it had when 2009 began. There were about 250 million cars in the U.S. in December of 2008, according to Department of Transportation numbers. At the end of 2009, there were 246 million. The nation that kicked off the global love affair with driving is driving less.
Autoblog reports, “We may have been buying fewer cars than we usually do in a year – there were around 10 million sold in 2009 – but we still got rid of 14 million.”
Canada’s CTV News adds, “And the overall drop in car ownership has prompted speculation that the long American love affair with the car is fading. Analysts cite such diverse factors as high gas prices, the expansion of many municipal transit systems, and the popularity of networking websites among teenagers replacing cars as a way of socializing.”
If that’s the case, there could be significant benefits. In a press release, Earth Policy Institute President Lester Brown predicts that the trend will “steadily reduce U.S. oil consumption and carbon emissions. It will also largely eliminate the need for building new streets and highways, and will set the stage for increased investment in public transit.”
We’d just like to see less traffic.