A report by the Washington Public Interest Research Group says the number of miles driven by Americans has declined for eight years, and is expected to continue in that direction with the Millennial Generation getting behind the wheel. Governments, however, haven’t recognized the trend and continue to want to spend more on highways, it says.
Miles driver per capita peaked in 2004, and the total number of miles driver by Americans tapped out in 2007.
The Millennial Generation of 16- to 34-year-olds drove 22 percent fewer miles on average in 2009 than in 2001, the greatest decline of any age group. Millennials are more likely to want to live in urban and walkable neighborhoods and are more open to non-driving options than older Americans, the study says.
Baby Boomer driving shot up in the second half of the 20th century with low gas prices, growth of suburbs and increase in women commuters. Now the trend is receding. Driving won’t ever regain its 2007 peak, but government planners aren’t responding, the study says. They overestimate vehicle travel to justify spending on new and expanded highways.
The trend to less driving combined with better fuel efficiency means Americans will use about half as much gas and other fuels in 2040 as they do today, resulting in a 74 percent drop in gas taxes.
You can see the whole report here.