The number of households in America without a vehicle has doubled over the past two decades, with 9.3 percent of American households going carless last year.
The data comes from research by CNW Marketing and says that the trend affects both young and old consumers. In 1991, only 5.7 percent of households were carless and has been undergoing a “rapid rise” since 2007. Of course some of that can be attributed to the recession, but there’s no denying a growing number of Americans feel they can go without a personal car.
Car sharing companies, such as Zipcar, are helping alleviate the need or want of owning a vehicle and CNW forecasts the auto industry will shift more vehicles into fleet sales. Though the U.S. new-car market is recovering, few expect it to reach the more than 17 million peak figure seen during past recoveries.
The number of carless households in America could hit 10 percent this year, or soon afterwards. The study parallels another released by the U.S. Public Research Interest Group (PIRG) that declared “the driving boom is over.”
But things could be changing, as Americans are now preferring auto travel over air travel as evident by a recent projection by AAA Travel. AAA Travel believes a total of 34.8 million Americans will travel this upcoming Memorial Day weekend with 89 percent of those to travel by automobile. Though it’s only an increase of 0.1 million people compared to last year, air travel is expected to decline by 0.9 percent from 35.1 million to 34.8 million, showing that American travelers are getting tired of dealing with airports and planes.
In addition, the AAA study also revealed that car rental rates have hit their highest in four years to an average of $43, 19 percent more than last year and its highest for the Memorial Day holiday since 2009.
[Source: The Detroit Bureau]