Planetizen - Urban Planning News, Jobs, and Education

Report Predicts 'Mass Exodus of Vehicles off America's Highways'

<p>A new report for a Canadian bank examining the economic impact of rising oil prices predicts that millions of Americans will be forced to give up driving as gas reaches $7.00 a gallon.</p>
July 3, 2008, 8am PDT | Michael Dudley
Share Tweet LinkedIn Email Comments

"As gasoline prices climb inexorably, American driving habits are going to have to undergo a massive change, mimicking the driving habits long adopted by Europeans who have faced much higher gas prices. Average miles driven will likely fall by as much as 15%, while the market share of light trucks, SUVs and vans will be literally halved, reversing the trend of the last fifteen years. But the most fundamental, and unprecedented change will be in the number of vehicles on the road.

Over the next four years, we are likely to witness the greatest mass exodus of vehicles off America's highways in history. By 2012,there should be some 10 million fewer vehicles on American roadways than there are today-a decline that dwarfs all previous adjustments including those during the two OPEC oil shocks (see pages 4-8). Many of those in the exit lane will be low income Americans from households earning less than $25,000 per year. Incredibly, over 10 million of those American households own more than one car.

Soon they won't own any.

More fundamentally, the freeways are about to get less congested. Not only will the number of vehicle registrations in the United States not grow over the next four years, but by 2012 there should be roughly 10 million fewer vehicles on the road in America than there are today. For the past half century, America has spent the bulk of its infrastructure money on building highways-only to see that soon, $7 per gallon gasoline prices will lead to fewer and fewer people using them."

Full Story:
Published on Thursday, June 26, 2008 in CIBC World Markets
Share Tweet LinkedIn Email