WASHINGTON – Americans of all ages are throwing away their car keys.
A new report by the consumer advocacy group U.S. PIRG shows the number of miles driven began to drop in the middle of the last decade.
“Sixteen to 34-year-olds drove a whopping 23 percent fewer miles on average in 2009 than in 2001,” according to the study.
The figures are classified as “a structural shift that is largely rooted in changing demographics.”
Experts say the trend will likely continue for the foreseeable future
“There’s been a precipitous drop in the number of drivers,” explains transportation consultant Karina Ricks of Nelson Nyguard Consulting Associates.
“Sixteen, 17, 18, 19, all of these age groups have a reduced percentage proportion of drivers,” she says.
Millennials are seeking alternatives to personal vehicles. Meanwhile, baby boomers are commuting less as they leave the work force.
The new report predicts driving may remain below its 2007 peak through 2040. However skeptics claim younger drivers will buck that trend as they begin to have children, move to the suburbs and ultimately spend more time behind the wheel.