Maybe I won’t need mine much longer.
U.S. car ownership shifts into reverse
Why are there four million fewer vehicles on the roads in 2009? Think gas prices, transit, tweeting teens and a car-to-driver ‘saturation point’
From Tuesday’s Globe and Mail Published on Monday, Jan. 04, 2010 9:18PM EST Last updated on Tuesday, Jan. 05, 2010 2:45AM EST
Americans’ infatuation with their cars has endured through booms and busts, but last year something rare happened in the United States: The number of automobiles actually fell.
The size of the U.S. car fleet dropped by a hefty four million vehicles to 246 million, the only large decline since the U.S. Department of Transportation began modern recordkeeping in 1960. Americans bought only 10 million cars – and sent 14 million to the scrapyard.
The decline in sales from previous years came despite 2009’s cash-for-clunkers program, in which the U.S. government gave Americans up to $4,500 (U.S.) to trade in their gas guzzlers for new, more fuel-efficient cars – a program that saw nearly 700,000 vehicles scrapped.
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.
“We’ve reached a sort of saturation point in this country” when it comes to cars, said Lester Brown, president of the Earth Policy Institute, an environmental think tank based in Washington.
The institute is issuing an analysis Wednesday that contends the drop in 2009 isn’t a one-time fluke caused by the recession, and that U.S. car ownership is likely to be entering a longer-term decline that will see the fleet drop by another 25 million by 2020.
But then why this?
Cramped on Land, Big Oil Bets at Sea
BY BEN CASSELMAN AND GUY CHAZAN
Big Oil never wanted to be here, in 4,300 feet of water far out in the Gulf of Mexico, drilling through nearly five miles of rock.
It is an expensive way to look for oil. Chevron Corp. is paying nearly $500,000 a day to the owner of the Clear Leader, one of the world’s newest and most powerful drilling rigs. The new well off the coast of Louisiana will connect to a huge platform floating nearby, which cost Chevron $650 million to build. The first phase of this oil-exploration project took more than 10 years and cost $2.7 billion —
Something seems out of whack.