A testing program that began a year ago in Ann Arbor, Mich. will continue six months beyond its originally planned lifespan.
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Despite government mandated fuel economy improvements, overall fuel consumption is on the rise across America according to a new report.
Although it’s no secret that most industrialized countries are experiencing ageing populations, which, related to motoring means the average age of drivers on the road is increasing year after year; a study from the University of Michigan has also found, that in many of these nations, younger people are also showing less interest in getting behind the wheel.
According to the study, conducted by the U of M’s Transportation Research Institute in Ann Arbor; in the US and other developed nations, notably Canada, Germany , Japan, Norway, South Korea, Sweden and the United Kingdom, a higher proportion of internet users led to corresponding lower amount of driver license applications. In the US, dropping application rates saw the ratio of drivers under 30 decrease to 22 percent of the motoring population by 2008; back in 1983 this group represented a third.
According to Michael Sivak, head of the Institute’s human factors group, the lower rate of license applications is “consistent with the hypothesis that access to virtual content through electronic means reduces the need for actual contact among young people.”
Rebecca Linland, an senior analyst with IHS Automotive, agrees with Sivak, stating that, “in every other generation, kids had to leave the house to see their friends and now you can do all that online,” she said. “A car is no longer required.”
However, Lindland does acknowledge that interests and needs change over time, thus as today’s youth grow older, shifting priorities will likely see them develop requirements for personal transportation down the road. That said, she still thinks the way in which young people today will perceive and use vehicles could very well be different that what we’ve witnessed over the last four or five generations. ”It’s the first time we’ve seen that and that’s why it’s a bit alarming,” she said.
[Source: Automotive News]
The old saying “stay off the sidewalks, my kid just got a license” may be losing its punch but “Grandpa, don’t drive on the curb” might be replacing it.
A new study released yesterday by the University of Michigan found that fewer young people are dashing out to get a driver’s licence than in the early 80′s. The same report found that while young drivers are waning, seniors account for the fastest growing group of licensed drivers.
The numbers essentially boil down to this: as a general rule since 1983 the proportion of people under 30 who have licenses has steadily decreased. At the same time, that proportion seems to shrink with age. Essentially, the older you get, the more likely you are from a statistical point of view to get a driver’s license.
That idea extends farther than you might guess, as the report also showed that people are driving later in their lives than ever before. The number of drivers retaining their license between the age of 65 and 69 increased 15 percent between 1983 and 2008. Adding to that data, drivers over 70 composed the largest proportional group at more than 10 percent.
So why the change? Modern medicine advancements surely have something to do with people being able to drive longer. As a population we are living longer and in better health than our grandparents, so it stands to reason more people would continue daily activities into their sunset years.
Statistics show that by 2030 there will be an estimated 57 million elderly drivers, compared to the 30 million there are today.
The real humdinger is why young people don’t seem to be crowding the early morning lines at the DMV. Automakers are concerned that electronic interaction is replacing personal contact among young people, making them less likely to feel the need to drive.
It’s also harder than ever for a young American to lay hands on a license. It used to be that a permit was available as a 16-year-old or even earlier and that after a number of hours driving with a parent, that kid could take a simple road test and be fully licensed. Those days are gone.
Now more states are adopting graduated licensing systems forcing new drivers through hoops meant to reduce the number of unsafe drivers on the road.
“Studies have shown for teen drivers the crash risk increases exponentially for each additional passenger, but parents seem unaware of the dangers associated with passengers and nighttime driving,” said Michael L. Prince, Michigan’s Office of Highway Safety Planning director in an interview with the Detroit News.
[Source: Detroit News]
Good new folks – we’re not as gassy as we use to be! This has nothing to do with the consumption of beans and nachos. We’re talking about the gas emissions from your cars, and a new study out shows emissions from recently purchased new vehicles have fallen 14 percent since 2007.
The study out of the University of Michigan says the drop in emissions in due in part to drivers choosing to buy smaller vehicles, as well as automakers’ efforts to reduce pollution and boost fuel economy.
The researchers of this study put together the Eco-Drive Index. This handy index estimates the average amount of greenhouse gases emitted monthly by U.S. drivers of new vehicles (bought over the previous month). Unfortunately, the index only monitors emissions from new vehicles, which make up a small portion of the cars on U.S. roads.
In terms of numbers, April 2011 (the most recent month for which data are available), the Eco-Drive Index showed emissions clocking in at 0.86 – that’s 14 percent lower than the base line of 1.0 in October 2007. Contributing to this drop are factors such as rising fuel prices, higher sales of fuel-efficient vehicles and a decrease in driving.
Automakers have responded positively to the findings in the index, says Brandon Schoettle, a University of Michigan research associate who helped create the index. “It has some positive messages for the automotive industry,” said Schoettle. “People have bought, and will buy, fuel efficient vehicles.”
[Source: Automotive News]
General Motors Announces that the Upcoming Chevrolet Volt Will use Battery Packs Made in the U.S.A.
After a press conference the day before where every new, exciting and award winning GM vehicle was paraded before the media, the General’s second North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) press conference featured a sparse stage populated only by the upcoming Checy Volt and GM Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner.
Wagoner announced that the battery packs that will be used in the company’s upcoming plug-in hybrid Volt will be manufactured in the United States. The 31,000 sq.-ft. facility (roughly the size of GM’s display at the Detroit Auto Show) will be built in Michigan in 2009 with output of the battery packs in 2010.
The lithium-ion battery cells for the Volt will be provided by LG Chem and LG Chem’s subsidiary, Compact Power Inc., (based in Troy, MI) will build the battery packs until that facility is operational.
The production facility is, however, just the beginning of GM’s commitment to hybrid-electric power, which to date is a commitment of over $1 billion. General Motors will work with the University of Michigan’s College of Engineering to develop a battery lab to develop new battery designs.
The Chevy Volt and the Voltec hybrid-electric system (which can power the car for 40 miles on zer0-emissions electric power before switching over to a conventional hybrid system) will begin production in late 2010 to go on sale in 2011.