September 2, 2013

Peak Driving Monday

"Americans are driving less, and evidence suggests it's not about the economy."

In no year previous did Americans drive more miles than in 2004. It was peak driving since vehicle miles travelled has declined in almost every state since then. While researchers have a variety of explanations, they are not quite sure of the actual mechanisms at work.

Is our love affair with the car over?

For the past 8 years our personal experience has been following the same bumpy road and we have been driving less and less. Why?

  • climate change
  • price of gas
  • we have been enjoying a more local lifestyle
  • to save money on vehicle maintenance
  • we don't want to support the fossil fuel industry
  • we have been biking/walking/rolling instead of driving
Is the era of the private automobile racing all over the continent coming to a close? Are we learning to be more settled and content with where we are at?

How have your driving habits changed?


  1. Anonymous9/02/2013

    I stopped driving and sold my car 7 years ago. I had to stop driving for health reasons, but have never regretted my decision. Even when I owned a car I only went out once a week or so to get necessities. Now some once drives us about for what we need. We never go more than a few miles from home.

    I truly hope that the love affair with the car is over! I'd love to see the day of the butcher the baker and the candlestick maker all within walking distance once again. Think of how much society would change for the better!

    1. Miss Marla, You are right - walkable neighbourhoods are more livable, community-minded, sustainable, and enjoyable. People that live in walkable communities report having a higher quality of life and deeper connection to their locality.

  2. Anonymous9/02/2013

    This post resonted so strongly with me! My mother and I share car ownership (a 2002 Hyundai Accent with 139,00 miles on the odometer and counting) but my ultimate goal is to go car-free. Since we live five miles from the nearest town (and no public transporation outside of our town itself) this is a long-term but, I feel, ultimately attainable goal. I ride my bike and walk as much as possible, but sadly, I live in a VERY car-centric neighborhood/environment. However, this has not and will not stop me from continually working towards my goal of downsizing my living arrangements (a 1100 sq. foot house) and moving into an area where I will no longer be dependent on a car to get around. Happily, my mother is on board with these goals and we are working together to make this happen. Your blog is a true inspiration to me and I always check up with it whenever I need encouragement or feel especially outside of the prevailing norm. Being surrounded by neighbors with multiple pick-up trucks, ATVs, four-wheelers and huge SUVs can get a little lonely! Keep up the good work and encouragement to your readers.

    1. Anonymous NBA Reader, Shared vehicle ownership would be a good way to go, whether between friends or family, or in a car share cooperative. It is a good idea for those of us that drive infrequently.

      I do like your ultimate goal of being car-free. We live in a rural location, but the public transportation system is excellent, so ditching the vehicle is doable.

      Congratulations on continuing to downsize your arrangements - you are setting yourself up nicely as we move past Peak Everything and into our sustainable future. Nice that your mom is on board with it all!

      It is good to have a partner and support group on your journey in simple living. Linda has always been into cutting life to the basics in order to be able to live the life we would like to see in the world. It has been and continues to be an enjoyable, vital adventure together.

      It is important that we share our efforts with each other for support and camaraderie. It can be difficult as a tiny island of simplicity in a vast and stormy sea of busyness and buying. One's efforts threaten to be swamped in a wave of advertising-fueled excess.

      But living simply is a life jacket that buoys us along until we can gather together in rafts. I like to see NBA as a refuge, an oasis of sanity and soothing salve. Each post is like sending out assistance to anyone in need.

      No need for loneliness - more people are beginning to see what needs to be done and our numbers are growing! And of course you are welcome here any time.

      Thank you for visiting and for commenting, Anonymous Reader.


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