Plunging Gas Prices = Increase In Traffic?

5 02 2015

Dale BertramIt seems that Americans have curtailed their driving habits in the last few years and even the recent plunge in fuel prices isn’t going to change that.  The Energy Information Service has been tracking American drivers for several years and they attribute this decline to the following:

  • A large segment of the U.S. population is made up of Baby Boomers (born 1946 – 1964). A big portion of the Baby Boomers are now retired and each year will bring even more retirees into the mix.  Retirees, of course, don’t drive as often as those commuting to work every day.  Some have even moved to areas or communities that have everything conveniently close by so they don’t have to get the car out every time they go out…they can walk.
  • Baby Boomers are also referred to as the “sandwich generation” because they are helping their children and their parents in many ways…some financially. Their time is often taken up with caring for the physical needs of their parents and the financial needs of their children in terms of college loan repayments and to help them as they struggle to find a job that meets their dreams and expensive college education.  Baby Boomers have learned that though they have a nice income and have planned for their future, their economy isn’t as stable as they imagined due to being sandwiched between loved one’s needs. They too have learned how to be thrifty.
  • Today’s teens aren’t as excited to get their driver’s license…therefore they aren’t even thinking about the joy of getting their first car! They prefer to spend money on gadgets powered by technology instead of fuel, cars and insurance.  Even if Mom and Dad would choose to foot the bill for the privilege of driving, a good portion of teens just aren’t interested.
  • For decades we moved out of the cities into suburbia. Now, many are moving back into urban areas that have been refurbished.  They enjoy the convenience of living within walking distance to their job, home, shopping and entertainment.
  • Some commuters prefer mass transit as it saves money on car payments, insurance and all the money associated with owning and operating a car. They also feel they are helping the environment so for them it is a win-win situation.

It seems many things have changed since the economy slid downhill. The American consumer has learned to be thrifty and they know how to find the best bargains now.  I read all the time that we aren’t looking for cheap…we are looking for value.  We have learned how to adapt to this interesting time.

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