The Economic Perspective: “Are We Driving Less?”

Mary:  This is Mary Walden with economist MW, welcoming you to the economic perspective.  Today’s program asks if we’re driving less.  Mike, many historians say our modern economy was built around the automobile.  Vehicles are used to take us to work and school, and much of what we purchase in stores was delivered by trucks.  But is the age of the auto beginning to wane?


Mike: Summary Answer

  • Recent data suggest, “yes”
  • Miles driven fell during and immediately after the Great Recession, with only a slight rebound since
  • The average number of trips made by households has dropped continuously since the mid-1990s
  • Several factors at work
  • More of us are working from home; we’re doing more on-line shopping, and young people are delaying getting licenses and are using alternative travel modes
  • Makes planning for roads and other transit modes more challenging
  • I’m MW


Mary:  And I’m Mary Walden for the Economic Perspective, an NC State Extension program from the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.