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U.S. Teenagers Are Driving Much Less: 4 Theories About Why

timothy posted about 8 months ago | from the time-and-place-restrictions dept.

Stats 635

Paul Fernhout writes "U.S. teenagers just aren't as into driving as they used to be, U.S. government forecasters acknowledged in dramatically altered projections for transportation energy use over the next 25 years." Online presence is one of the reasons mentioned, which makes a lot of sense to me as a factor, no matter the age of the drivers involved. Whatever your age, do you drive less than you did 10 years ago?

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Porn ... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46005475)

Before, teens needed to have a car to impress the girls ...

Now, they just need an internet connection and some hand-cream.

Re:Porn ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46005737)

I'm not entirely sure a porn habit and one arm twice the size of the other impresses the girls much.

Re:Porn ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46005823)

No, one substitutes another one, you dummy!
No need to drive, when you are 'sexually' satisfied.

Not sure that's what they need... (1, Funny)

RiscIt (95258) | about 8 months ago | (#46005807)

How does the hand-cream help them impress girls?

Re:Not sure that's what they need... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46005853)

Erm, well, they don't feel the need to impress girls at all ...

The situation will correct itself, girls will gradually become more sexually promiscuous to compensate.

Re:Porn ... (0)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 8 months ago | (#46005959)

No girl will ever be impressed by a Prius.
Modern cars just aren't cool anymore.

Murica Fuck yea! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46005481)

Celebrating how America is more energy efficient because its people can no longer afford to drive.

Re:Murica Fuck yea! (2)

MightyYar (622222) | about 8 months ago | (#46005577)

Catching up to Europe I suppose.

Re:Murica Fuck yea! (4, Insightful)

Ubi_NL (313657) | about 8 months ago | (#46005813)

Then there's a long way to go. Petrol in Europe is still 6 times more expensive. No, really. 6 times.

Re:Murica Fuck yea! (2, Funny)

MightyYar (622222) | about 8 months ago | (#46005921)

Like all other things, I'm sure you are paying for a superior product... ~

Re:Murica Fuck yea! (1)

ganjadude (952775) | about 8 months ago | (#46005967)

I dont think a gallon of gas is over 30 bucks over there... and if it was, why havent you guys revolted yet? Hell I dont like 4 bucks a gallon

Re:Murica Fuck yea! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46006077)

USD 7.50 / US Gallon if my calculations are correct. (Cheapest price in Sweden as of Jan 19, 2014).

That is the cheapest version of petrol aswell , 95 oktane with a 5% mix of ethanol.

Re:Murica Fuck yea! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46006083)

One litre of 98E (5% ethanol, 95% gas) costs approx. 1,70 EUR in Finland. That's $8.7 / gallon.

Re:Murica Fuck yea! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46006017)

Then there's a long way to go. Petrol in Europe is still 6 times more expensive. No, really. 6 times.

Yes, gas is much more expensive in Europe BUT :

- most of our cities are tailored for people and not cars
- we have very good public transportation that you americans can't even begin to comprehend
- taking the car to the grocery store that's 100 meters from your place is just stupid.
- so you only take the car when absolutely necessary.
- Just imagine people living up to 100 km from Paris or London and commuting every day to the city on a train. No need to take the car. Saves you a freakton of money.
- in the US because of your hyper developed suburbia without cars you die.

Re:Murica Fuck yea! (1)

jonbryce (703250) | about 8 months ago | (#46006081)

Petrol costs about £0.54 per litre in the USA vs £1.27 in the UK. Diesel is about £0.61 per litre vs £1.34 in the UK. In both cases just over twice as expensive.

However, per mile, it probably costs about the same in the USA as in Europe as American cars tend to be less fuel efficient. Also, Americans drive more miles as they live in a bigger country and things are more spread out.

Re:Murica Fuck yea! (5, Insightful)

beltsbear (2489652) | about 8 months ago | (#46005583)

True! The cost of driving has risen. Mandatory insurance plus the price of gas and harder to repair old cars all contribute. I am not saying a teen cannot learn to fix cars, but more tools are needed then ever. I could have changed most wearing parts of my Delta-88 (teenage car) with tools my dad had lying around.

Re:Murica Fuck yea! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46005791)

oh bullshit. You get an engine code, drive to autozone (except in the republic of california where the lawyers own everything) and the code scanner tells you what's wrong. No more "what's wrong with the carburetor and it's 1000 parts. It's now plug-in diagnostic computers. Oh, and they don't break as much, so you don't do that as much.

What's really happening is that "old people" have taken all of the minimum wage jobs, so teenagers are driving to jobs. This is *not* good; it's particularly regressive, as now minorities and the poor have jack shit for "experience" when trying to get a job, which bolsters the "I can't find anyone qualified for the job" induced outsourcing.

Re:Murica Fuck yea! (2)

ganjadude (952775) | about 8 months ago | (#46005977)

that and cash for clunkers which destroyed a large amount of cars that teens could afford

Yup (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46005485)

I lived 20 miles from my high school. Today I work remotely from home. I would imagine the remote work will have an impact on driving in the future as it catches on.

Re:Yup (1)

RotateLeftByte (797477) | about 8 months ago | (#46005715)

Unless you work for Yahoo and a few other companies who have stopped that nasty practice.

Gas price probably has more to do with it. (3, Insightful)

JDeane (1402533) | about 8 months ago | (#46005487)

Yes I drive a lot less than I used to 10 years ago, but it less to do with the Internet and more to do with the price of gas....

http://money.cnn.com/2004/03/23/news/economy/gas_aaa/ [cnn.com]

Re:Gas price probably has more to do with it. (5, Insightful)

oic0 (1864384) | about 8 months ago | (#46005603)

More than just the price of gas, I also costs a lot more to do whatever you are going to do when you get where you are going! 10 years ago an outing might have cost me ~30 bucks gas included. 5 in gas, 15 for food, 10 for movie tickets. Now it costs ~60 with 8 for gas, 30 for food, 20 for movie tickets. I am however NOT making twice as much as I was 10 years ago.

Re:Gas price probably has more to do with it. (2)

beelsebob (529313) | about 8 months ago | (#46005731)

I don't buy this argument, because the same is being seen in europe, where the price of gas is (and was) 4 times higher.

Re:Gas price probably has more to do with it. (4, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 8 months ago | (#46005867)

Prices in Europe have also gone up a lot, so while you might expect to see different absolute values, you'd expect to see the same decline. I live in the UK and don't drive. Owning a car is a huge expense (insurance and maintenance, even before you add in the fuel) for little benefit. I've always taken jobs where I could either work remotely or walk / cycle less than 10 minutes each way. I wouldn't consider working somewhere where I'd need to drive to work, or where I'd spend more than 10 minutes commuting, and I'm always amazed at people in the US who are happy to spend more than the equivalent of one working day a week just getting to and from work. At least cycling in, I get some exercise at the same time.

Re:Gas price probably has more to do with it. (2)

fermion (181285) | about 8 months ago | (#46005953)

Here is another data point. In the mid 80's was when the drinking age was raised to 21. Prior to that there was an incentive to get a driver license as that is what got you into bars on your 18th birthday. For the 16-19 crowd there is really no reason to have one unless you want to smoke. But cost of gas is one problem. Another is that the US now has about 80% of our population living in an urban area of 2500 or more people, and the top 50 or so urban areas make up over half of the US population. While adults in my area might commute 30-70 miles a day, easily, kids might only drive that in a week. I see a number of young adults moving to within a few miles of a the bars and stores.

Then of course there is car insurance. It is expensive to begin with, and if one has anything on the record can increase rapidly. This is addressed in the article.

The main, discussion, however, seems to be about driving licenses. When I was a kid, only about half of my group had driving licenses before we left high school. The rest did not have the money or because they did not have a car did not see the need. OTOH, I knew of a number of people who got hardship licenses at 15 because of school activities and like. I think those were easier to get than they are now.

Re:Gas price probably has more to do with it. (5, Interesting)

Teckla (630646) | about 8 months ago | (#46006003)

Yes I drive a lot less than I used to 10 years ago, but it less to do with the Internet and more to do with the price of gas....

I'm not sure why your comment and link to an ancient article on gas prices (2004?!) got modded insightful, but when you factor in inflation, gas prices aren't particularly high. They're at a pretty normal level compared to historical prices (again, inflation adjusted).

That being said, the inflation adjusted income of the middle class has been going down for decades. That's more likely to be your culprit.

Yes (1)

reikae (80981) | about 8 months ago | (#46005491)

I don't live in the US though, but I drive less than I did ten years ago. Back then I had a car, now I don't. I don't really miss having a car much, because I don't need to travel long distances.

Alice Cooper has the Answer. (5, Funny)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 8 months ago | (#46005497)

Don't got a job because I don't have a car.

Don't have a car cause I don't have a job.

Don't have a girl cause I don't have a car.

So I'm looking for a girl with a job and a car.

Well Duh. (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 8 months ago | (#46005531)

Yes, because I'm retired now. Used to be 15K miles per year, now it's 4K.

However that doesn't mean I use less fuel. Nowadays I fly to Hawaii and Europe at least once each per year.

Re:Well Duh. (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about 8 months ago | (#46005601)

Wow, that's a good point. Even if the plane gets the equivalent of 90MPG per passenger, you are "driving" thousands of miles. Just shows how little we really can affect things as individuals.

Re:Well Duh. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46005671)

You can fly less...

Re: Well Duh. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46005725)

you could breathe less.

Re:Well Duh. (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about 8 months ago | (#46005907)

I prefer to restrict my emanation of the stronger greenhouse gas methane by igniting it or capturing it in a bottle.

Re:Well Duh. (1)

DamonHD (794830) | about 8 months ago | (#46005929)

Quite the reverse: shows just how much individuals can make a difference by, for example, avoiding flying (or at least travelling long distances) for no sufficiently good reason.

I haven't flown in years and and don't feel I'm missing much. We take family holidays fairly close to home by train though be may now ... ahem ... push the boat out and take a decent ferry ride this year to give the kids a taste of another country. We're still managing to be close to carbon-negative at home for primary (6t less CO2 per year than a few years ago) and I'm not going to waste those savings on a mindless travel binge.

Rgds

Damon

Re:Well Duh. (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about 8 months ago | (#46006089)

avoiding flying (or at least travelling long distances) for no sufficiently good reason.

But the plane would still fly without your single seat. Only collective action, in the form of many people not flying, can help in this case. It doesn't need to be organized, but it needs to be collective - and collective efforts seem to be more successful when organized. I think one could even argue that choosing not to fly would simply make the price lower for someone else.

In the case of your individual effort at maintaining a carbon-negative home, while laudable, probably makes heating costs slightly lower for my neighbors with giant, prewar homes. Their economic decision to insulate them might get put off as long as energy stays inexpensive. Without some collective action, your noble efforts are mostly wasted I'm afraid.

I drive more (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46005533)

I drive a lot more than I used to. Granted, I'm not your typical American, but I spend most of my adult life with no car. I failed my driver's license road test when I was 17 and didn't get a license until I was 22. From the age of 16 to 28, I had a car for a total of 9 months. I live in a major city, so I took the bus everywhere. It wasn't much fun (especially in winter), but it was certainly doable.

I spent much of my working life underemployed, and I didn't want to waste money on some piece of shit junker just to get around (my 11-year-old Toyota died on me in the dead of winter - broken timing belt, wrecked cylinder head, not worth the money to fix even if I had it). So I bided my time until I could get the car I wanted, and 5 years ago, I did. Now, I live in the inner city but drive to work in the suburbs every day (40 mi. round trip). I drive more than I ever did before, and I've put more miles on my car in the past year than I did in the 4 prior.

I love driving. It's traffic I hate!

Re:I drive more (1)

emj (15659) | about 8 months ago | (#46005913)

I love driving. It's traffic I hate!

I love traffic that's why I use a bicycle, 20 miles is ok to do by bike. You are not alone in not liking traffic from a car, there are recent [psmag.com] studies [sciencedirect.com] that says that if when you are in a car you will enjoy the city less than when on foot or on a bike.

The lost generation (0)

DigiShaman (671371) | about 8 months ago | (#46005535)

Thanks to the Great Recession, teens are having to take a backseat when applying for minimum wage jobs to those with either experience or a degree. So it comes to no surprise to me they have little to know extra gas money to be spending on social outings that involve driving around town.

File this under 'Duh!'

Re:The lost generation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46005705)

File this under 'Duh!'

The signoff of a mediocre analyst ... what you've described is likely a factor, but it's very unlikely that it's the only one.

Re:The lost generation (1)

rueger (210566) | about 8 months ago | (#46005845)

Also unlikely that minimum wage employers (aka "Scumbags") are hiring people with degrees. Those sorts don't want to hire people who are a) smarter than them b) more educated than them or c) likely to leave for a better job or understand local employment laws.

Re:The lost generation (2)

liquidpele (663430) | about 8 months ago | (#46005909)

Many employers will *absolutely* hire older people rather than teens if they think they'll stick around... they're usually more stable, their available work schedules are not impacted by school, and they're not going to leave to go to college and never return in a couple years.

Re:The lost generation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46005985)

Those sorts don't want to hire people who are a) smarter than them b) more educated than them or c) likely to leave for a better job or understand local employment laws.

If a and b are true, 99% of degree holders wouldn't threaten them in those ways, anyway. A grand majority of the products of the education system are unintelligent.

Look before I go (3, Interesting)

eclectro (227083) | about 8 months ago | (#46005539)

I check a store's inventory and maybe make a call before I drive off. Olden days I would need to travel around to different stores to find a special item. More often than not I also mail order supplies I would have bought locally. Sorry Radio Shack. Well, not really.

No Afterschool Jobs == NO GAS MONEY (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46005543)

Since the jobs that used to be filled by teens are now largely filled by immigrants (legal and undocumented) the teens simply don't have the MONEY to drive as much. And for the scholastically inclined they are so busy with schoolwork and activities they dont have the time or money for a car.

Re:No Afterschool Jobs == NO GAS MONEY (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46005675)

We actually have fewer immigrants now than we did 10 years ago. I don't know the data on time spent doing schoolwork, but I doubt that it has significantly increased for any segment of the youth, including the "scholastically inclined" - who always did a lot of schoolwork and activities. So I find your explanations rather implausible.

Re:No Afterschool Jobs == NO GAS MONEY (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46005937)

I think what you meant was that the rate of immigration is less than it was 10 years ago. To actually have less immigrants, the rate of immigrant death/retirement would have to be greater than the rate of immigration.

Not Really (1)

residents_parking (1026556) | about 8 months ago | (#46005549)

I drive about the same, but live in the UK where "gas" costs have always been high. Thing is though, it's still cheaper (and twice as fast) as taking the train. So I'll carry on.

Controlled for minimum driving age? (4, Informative)

TheGavster (774657) | about 8 months ago | (#46005553)

At least in CT, the age at which you can practically operate a vehicle on your own keeps creeping up, and there are always new rules restricting the privilege (only during the day, no passengers, etc). Assuming that the rest of the nation passes similar policies (given that we never repeal such things it has to be a purely additive effect anyway), I would think it obvious that teens drive less on average, as teens can't drive as much.

Re:Controlled for minimum driving age? (3, Informative)

JJJJust (908929) | about 8 months ago | (#46005991)

This. In Michigan, I waited until I was 18 just to avoid dealing with graduated driver licensing laws. The bureaucracy alone they create is a PITA.

During my time working at the DMV, kids would often bring their fathers in to sign for approving their next level license. At least twice a day I was sending home angry kids because daddy dearest wasn't on the birth certificate.

Amazon (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46005557)

Why drive to a mall for less selection and higher prices?

Re:Amazon (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46005793)

Malls are dead though. The one mall in my exciting town is only half full or half empty.

Don't forget Driver's Ed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46005561)

This kind of falls under 'times are too tough', but it's not the individual student's financial state that affects it: High schools are cutting driver's ed classes to shore up the budget. Driver's ed was an easy and accessible path to getting a license (or permit), especially for students who didn't have access to practicing with a parent and/or family car.

Re:Don't forget Driver's Ed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46005843)

I don't know about all high schools (obviously), but with the one I went to, drivers ed was a money-maker. They had two teachers and 180 students, with each student paying $75 for the class. However, the class is only offered in the summertime. Now, they also host a motorcycle drivers ed class on weekends in the spring.

Re:Driver's Ed High School (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46005863)

There should be Budget cuts Across the board!

Much less (2)

realityimpaired (1668397) | about 8 months ago | (#46005567)

I drive significantly less than I did 10 years ago. I moved into the city, and am now able to take public transit to work, which was, previously, the lion's share of my driving.

As for the why... the price of fuel is a pretty big factor. Between that, and the fact that I'm now living in an area where public transit is a viable option, I don't really see the point in driving the car for anything other than shopping trips, and I can do most of those on the weekend. The very few things I may need during the week can be had at the grocery store, deli, or drug store across the street from my apartment building.

I still own a car, and I can't see myself ever giving it up, but I don't *need* to drive everywhere like I did when I lived in the country.

Drive less? Hell yes I do, every chance I get. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46005593)

Have you been out on the roads lately? It's rather fucked these days.

Don't even get me started on unending stretches of fucking orange barrels defending some sort of pretend work zone.

Re:Drive less? Hell yes I do, every chance I get. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46005653)

THIS. THIS! I fucking HATE those false work zones. If there is no work, there should be no work zone. Take the goddamned barrels and cones out of the road and get out of our way.

Re:Drive less? Hell yes I do, every chance I get. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46005923)

Don't blame me, I endorsed Christie for Governor

A lot less (1)

pelirojatica (533396) | about 8 months ago | (#46005595)

I drive a lot less than I did 10 years ago, even 4 or 5 years ago. I'm middle-aged, but the reason is related to the internet: I am a freelance designer and can work from anywhere.

New job within bicycle distance from home (1)

Tex Bravado (91447) | about 8 months ago | (#46005597)

So I drive about 40% as much now as in the previous 20 years.

But I also drive less recreationally than 30 years ago, and I think that's partly due to Internet access.

Better things to do (5, Insightful)

weave (48069) | about 8 months ago | (#46005607)

When I was a teenager in the late 70s, there was nothing to do except jump in the car and drive down Main Street and yell out the window to friends loitering in front of the bars, get to the end, come back and do it again, over and over. ("Cruising") or just go on a lot of joyrides.

If I had an xbox or ps4 back then, I'd have probably been on that instead.

Re:Better things to do (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 8 months ago | (#46005755)

Reminder: You went cruising to get out from under your parents.

Re:Better things to do (1)

sunking2 (521698) | about 8 months ago | (#46005943)

Very true, houses were a lot smaller back then when the typical house was a 1100 sqft ranch.

Re:Better things to do (2)

sunking2 (521698) | about 8 months ago | (#46005931)

Imagine Dazed and Confused set today. Definitely wouldn't be a top 10 movie like the original. Compare those memories, or forgotten memories if you were too drunk, with those of today which would be getting achievment XYZ on a game. Really kind of sad in my opinion.

Public transportation exists now. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46005615)

Busing used to be the domain of the middle-to-poor classes for much of urban America - not anymore.

Seasonal variance (1)

uffe_nordholm (1187961) | about 8 months ago | (#46005617)

In winter I drive more now than I did ten years ago, simply because I live further away from my jobs. But in summer I hardly drive at all, preferring to take my bicycle. Even if I know I can find cheap (or free) parking instantly, I prefer cycling 15-20 kms to taking the car. And as I get better and better bicycles, the distance I an willing to cycle instead of driving increases.

They don't go outside (5, Insightful)

Lije Baley (88936) | about 8 months ago | (#46005621)

If my son is any gauge, the reason they don't drive is because it would require them to leave the house. Whenever we go anywhere, he is always concerned with how far he will be from his computer. The iPad and 3DS will only hold off the DTs for so long...

Re:They don't go outside (1)

Teckla (630646) | about 8 months ago | (#46006021)

If my son is any gauge, the reason they don't drive is because it would require them to leave the house. Whenever we go anywhere, he is always concerned with how far he will be from his computer. The iPad and 3DS will only hold off the DTs for so long...

Get him a smartphone?

Re:They don't go outside (3, Insightful)

The Optimizer (14168) | about 8 months ago | (#46006051)

When I was a teen, one of the main functions of driving (and borrowing my parent's car) was to go be with my friends, hanging out or whatever. Otherwise I was stuck at home by myself.

My own kids are constantly texting, emailing, playing online with, or using other means to interact with their friends without physical proximity. They can do it from anywhere they have wireless connectivity, even when traveling out of town.

Again, back when I was a teen, we had a single land line telephone. If it wasn't in use, It was possible to call and just talk to one of my friends at a time, provided they were home, their line wasn't busy, and they were willing to be tethered by a cord to the phone's location in the house.

Amazon, add another to the list... (4, Insightful)

netsavior (627338) | about 8 months ago | (#46005639)

Amazon is like public transportation for "incidentals" In my household and those of my peers, there is no more "run to the store for these few items," it has been replaced with "is it prime?"

It's not a bad thing. (2)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 8 months ago | (#46005651)

Young, inexperienced drivers (particularly the males) are the worst actuarial risk for a reason.

DWY is only slightly better than DWI, because it's not a choice.

Re:It's not a bad thing. (1)

spiritplumber (1944222) | about 8 months ago | (#46005683)

But if they don't drive, then you will have older drivers who are still inexperienced.

Re:It's not a bad thing. (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 8 months ago | (#46005779)

Exactly. It's the first 1000 hours that are the most dangerous.

That's as true for 40 year olds learning to fly as it is for teenagers learning to drive.

Re:It's not a bad thing. (1)

DamonHD (794830) | about 8 months ago | (#46005969)

[citation required]

Well, except that I expect most 40 year olds to be a little better at judging/taking risks, and somewhat less driven by roller-coaster hormones and emotions.

Thus those 1000 hours should be safer for all concerned.

However, I'm quite happy to be shown to be wrong if you've got the numbers to prove it.

(I also am driving less in part by making sure that I'm in a position to use public transport and control my hours, but I'm in the UK and have never owner a car, though I've driven here and in the US and elsewhere in the EU.)

Rgds

Damon

Re:It's not a bad thing. (4, Informative)

geoskd (321194) | about 8 months ago | (#46006097)

Exactly. It's the first 1000 hours that are the most dangerous. That's as true for 40 year olds learning to fly as it is for teenagers learning to drive.

That only tells part of the story. Actuarially, drivers who do not start driving until age 25 are half as likely to suffer a major accident in their first three years of driving. The number drops even more if they wait until 29. After that it basically levels off.

The numbers are a bit skewed for other variables like gender and economic status, but age is the biggest factor.

Driving much less. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46005663)

Ten years ago I lived in Brooklyn, without a car. So I drive more now, but not a lot. Now I live in Cambridge and ride my bike to work and the car only gets used on weekends. Less than 1000 miles on the car last year. I lived in upstate New York for a few years, and drove a lot then, but I had a little car and gas was cheap (remember the mid-80s glut?). High gas prices and unending traffic congestion everywhere has really taken the fun out driving. In a lot of places it seems like the highway infrastructure has reachd maximum carrying capacity.

My kids and their friends (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46005691)

When I was a kid, most of us had a trip scheduled to the DMV on our 16th birthday, or a couple days after. Not so now days. Both my kids got their drivers license pretty much as soon as they could, but that certainly was not the norm among their friends. Many waited until they "needed" to drive, and relied on mom and dad to driver them around.

And I think that says it. Going from the "be home by dark" generation, getting the keys to the car was a huge jump in freedom, which you were allowed to have. For the kids today, they don't have the freedom before, and don't want it. Sad really.

I've got a fifth reason. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46005703)

Thanks to Bushobama outsourcing it is much harder to get a job these days for young people.

Teens and adults driving less: yes (2)

kheldan (1460303) | about 8 months ago | (#46005709)

The answer is pretty obvious: Gasoline prices have skyrocketed. Not a teenager anymore by far, I don't ever buy more than 5 gallons at a time, unless I know I'm going somewhere far enough away that I know I'll need more. I'll ride my motorcycle as much as I can because it's less expensive to operate overall, but for the most part I'll stay at home as much as I can.

Additionally, there didn't used to be such an abbreviation as "NEET", but now I hear it all the time. More kids are staying home longer (even into their late twenties, much to the dismay of their parents) or even coming back home (much more to the dismay of their parents) because they're just not making it out in the world. Unless supplied with a vehicle and money for fuel by their cash-strapped parents, they're not driving anywhere.

It seems to me that the Age of the Automobile, as a lifestyle, is coming to an end. Gasoline is never going to be under a dollar a gallon ever again. Will it be resurrected as the Age of the Electric Automobile (or some other alternative fuel source? Mr. Fusion, anyone?) or will we all be riding bicycles or using public transportation or some other non-personal transportation option? Are we all destined to become herd animals? Sad.

Re:Teens and adults driving less: yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46005915)

Why would the end of a lifestyle which entials sending thousands of dollars abroad (on average) to get over a tonne of energy-expensive materials, burning thousands of gallons of irreplacable natural resources and leaking the carcinogenic, teratogenic, environmentally disastrous fumes into the air while funding the worst examples of totalitarian dictatorships, supporting the worst excessed of US political and miltary strongarming, while also piloting it in a way which kills tens of thousands per year (or a 9/11 per month if you like), requiring billions in road repairs, lost time and so on, producing noise pollution and paving over hundreds of square miles with car parks be sad?

If everyone used bikes and public transport, this would all be reduced. Not insisting on your own personal bubble which sits and moulders for 95% of its life hardly makes you a herd animal.

Because I have to go outside and do things (1)

stevegee58 (1179505) | about 8 months ago | (#46005713)

and stuff.

ALL RIGHT! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46005749)

Teenage HATE thread!

Less often, or fewer miles? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46005763)

For me personally, we'd have to determine what criteria the "drive less" determination is asking about; driving less often, or driving fewer miles.
 
If we're talking less often, then indeed I do drive less than I did ten years ago. However, this is primarily because I now live in a different place than I did back then. My current residence is within walking distance of all of my basic necessities such as work, grocery store, laundromat, bank and so forth. Ten years ago, I used to have to drive my car daily. Now I really only use it a couple times a week at most.
 
If we're talking fewer miles, then the answer is different. Although I do drive less often, I find that I'm driving farther many of the times I do drive. Ten years ago, it used to be rare for me to drive farther than 50 miles from home. Now, it's a semi-regular occurrence (About 3-4 times per year) to go visit friends or attend a conference several hundred miles away. There's also a bi-weekly drive to a friend's house ~70mi away for poker night, and every few months ~120mi to my cardiologist or the dentist (university hospital, long drive). These, combined with the general-purpose driving I do infrequently means I'm averaging about 15,000 miles per year on my car, which is at least triple what I was putting in ten years ago.
 
So, am I driving less? Yes, and no. It depends on how you look at it.

Let's look at inflation adjusted costs. (3, Informative)

Dzimas (547818) | about 8 months ago | (#46005767)

In 1970, gasoline cost 35Â/gallon($1.65 in 2011 dollars). The OPEC crisis caused prices to more than double by 1980, but accelerated inflation meant that the cost rose to $2.03 in 2011 dollars. By 1990, gasoline hit $1 ($1.57 in 2011 dollars). Fast forward to today, and the average US price is $3.27. In other words, after adjusting for inflation gasoline is roughly twice as expensive as it has been historically. When you factor in the increased cost of high-tech cars and a sluggish economy, it's not surprising to see reduced demand.

Driving isn't fun anymore (5, Insightful)

Ly4 (2353328) | about 8 months ago | (#46005781)

Another factor - most driving is no longer 'fun' - It's fighting traffic. it's a job.

The only place you don't see traffic these days is car commercials.

I've made gradual changes to lessen crude oil use (3, Interesting)

a4r6 (978521) | about 8 months ago | (#46005815)

The whole shift in thinking about burning fuel and the problems that it leads to, however small my contribution, has certainly impacted my lifestyle.

My decision to live in a place where I can depend on public transportation was influenced by that knowledge.

The lack of attachment to a physical place, knowing that I can continue to nurture my friendships from a distance, through the internet, also played a big part.

They're getting around by helicopter... (2, Funny)

russotto (537200) | about 8 months ago | (#46005835)

...parent. Cars are for independence, the world of helicopter parenting doesn't allow for that.

Contributing factors to my driving decline (4, Informative)

multimediavt (965608) | about 8 months ago | (#46005841)

Now, this is over 15 years, not 10.

Internet
Sure, let's get that out of the way. I don't have to go out as much to buy things, so I'd say that lowered my annual driving average by about 5%-10%

Gasoline/Petrol prices
Absolutely. When the price of gasoline went over $2.50/gal (that was 2005-ish) my leisure driving went to almost none. That was easily 25%-30% of my annual driving.

More environmentally conscious
Over the last 15 years I have definitely become more environmentally conscious and tried to drive less as well as use less electricity, etc.

Moved closer to work
I live in a medium-sized rural university town (about 50,000 without students, about 80,000 with them). I work for the university and moved to my present location in 1999. Before that I was living about three miles away and would drive to work daily. Now, I have a 15 minute walk apartment door to office door (my office, not the outer door). That cut my driving down by more than a third.

So my driving habits over the last 15 years have dropped by roughly 65%-75%. I only drive when I need to run errands or I am going to visit friends farther than I can comfortably walk. I might spend $120-$130 on gas in a "busy" month (about 1,000 miles worth), but on average I spend about $60-$65 (about 500 miles worth). I used to average between 2,000 - 3,000 miles per month when gas was under $2.50/gal. I did a lot more road trips for fun and drove back and forth to work (often multiple times a day), as well as shopping trips and other errands. People around where I live have also gotten worse driving habits over that time, so that's another reason I stay off the roads. Where I live half the population of drivers has less than eight years of driving experience, and it seems they never really learned the rules of the road, anyway. Hell, it's bad enough as a pedestrian!

Job scarcity, inflation, minimum wage, gas prices? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46005847)

It's mostly about the money, you think kids would rather be texting from home than texting from the mall? Shit.

communication (3)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 8 months ago | (#46005857)

When I was just out of highschool we'd drive around looking for a party. Spent half the night doing that... stopping by this house or that house... We couldn't call from the car as there were no cellphones and even if we did land line phones were often not picked up at a loud party. With modern texting/tweeting etc, teens know where the party's immediately. If it changes venue they know right away. It's just one more activity computers have made more efficient.

Price of Driving vs. Wages (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46005869)

If you think about the increase in cost of driving over the last 10 years, and compare that to the average wage of a typical teen, in their typical fast-food, restaurant, or retail job, this should fail to surprise ANYONE. Add into that more restrictions put on teens in many areas about when they can be out, who can be in the car, what they can and cannot be doing, and you can see all you need to see.

No job, money, driver's instruction or car (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46005889)

When I was a teenager, it's obvious that I would not get any chance for training - and placed a reliance on public transportation.

Eventually, I shelled out my own money for driver's instruction after getting a job, as there's no chance I would get training from my parent. (His idea of training is pointing out non-essential bits like AC or radio - which can be fiddled with while the car is stopped - and ignoring more important things like head lights or wipers. When it comes to driving, I get incorrect instructions.)

I also saw that issue very early, along with the general lack of actual training.

Actually I do, but not for any particular reason (2)

fullmetal55 (698310) | about 8 months ago | (#46005933)

My commute is now a 15 minute jaunt on the highway to work, this is not by design, nor is it because I moved closer. (In fact 8 years ago I moved farther away from my current place of employment) back then I had a 30 minute commute, and I suppose if I was still living in that one bedroom apartment (with two kids would be hell) I'd have a 10 minute commute as opposed to the 15...

I drive mostly to and from work, other times, not so much.

Gas prices actually around here gas prices have gone up slightly in the past 10 years, but really, when a look on the historical gas price list. in 2004 gas was roughly 70c/l it was 2005 when gas first peaked 100c/l, this morning it was a comfortable 99.7c/l on my drive in to work. So gas prices are slightly higher, but not as bad as they were 5 years ago, and my salary in the same time has more than doubled. It's settled down. hasn't hit 130 in a long time.

Shopping has become less of a hassle as well. It used to be that when I wanted to buy a new motherboard, it took driving around to about 3-4 different stores to get pricing because not every store had an up to date website. that's greatly improved in the past 10 years, same with shopping for furniture, TVs, etc. What used to be a 10 stop shopping trip is usually down to 1-2 now.

10 years ago I was also single, online dating wasn't really all that big yet, so if I wanted to meet someone I had to go out and cruise around. heck back when I was a teenager that was the primary way to meet girls. Now a lot of people meet people online. heck I met my wife of 8 years online. Also I no longer have to drive as much to go on dates with my wife, as we live together. so that's another.

Also entertainment. it used to be more entertaining to go to the mall, the theatre, whatever the kids of the area did to hang out and usually ended up driving there. now, it's more why drive to hang out, we can hangout online and chat online. so no need for physical contact anymore. (which is another study's results that there isn't enough person-person contact with teenagers anymore.

frankly. There has been a lot of societal changes in the last 10 years, and a lot of that results in less driving. plus the whole recession that hit in 2008, kinda put a damper on being able to afford a car in your teenage years.

cops suck (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46005951)

I live in a border town and its common to get stopped outside my house for driving or walking or biking (have had it myself take up to 4 hours) getting in a car just makes u an easier target

Economics (1)

Cryogenics12 (3505443) | about 8 months ago | (#46005971)

I am 28. I drive more than I did 10 years ago but only because I live further from friends/family/job. The answer is the price of gas and the cost of maintaining a car in general. If you want to be able to afford a car you have to buy used and that usually means repair and upkeep. Tires are expensive. You have to register it. Those sorts of things. Where I live we are finally getting some decent public transportation and I envy kids now. Fuck owning a car they are a pain in the ass. Apart from the occasional road trip I would love to not have to worry about a car.

I put it down to these things: (1, Informative)

JustNiz (692889) | about 8 months ago | (#46005983)

I put it down to these things:

1) A few dacades ago, cars had stylish, artful individual appearances. The car you drove was an extension and public declaration of your identity. Cars are now all identical-looking anonymous grey boxes who's shape is determined only by the most optimal windtunnel performance. You mostly can't even tell what brand they are any more without looking at the badge. Consequently cars have become white-good dispoable items like a dishwasher or microwave. Its why classic cars are reaching crazy values now. They are the only cars left with any character. Personally I'd rather pay the extra 0.8 cents a mile in gas lost from aerodynamic inefficiency in order to drive something that doesn't look and feel like an upside-down jelly-mould, but apprently I am in a very small minority.

2) Way too much ludicrously heavy-handed legislation such as ridiculously low speed limits everywhere in direct response to politicised pressure groups with hidden agendas like MADD, have taken a lot of the pleasure out of driving.

3) Driving is often unaffordable for younger adults now since drivers have always been seen as a fat and almost infinite source of tax revenue, so the government keep heaping more taxes on road users. Driving is at least triple-taxed compared to anything else. (vehicle 'luxury' tax + gas tax + road licence tax + toll roads + the purpose of low speed limits/traffic tickets/automatic cameras and that most cops are traffic cops rather than the type who actually solve crimes, is all to do with revenue generation rather than anything at all to do with road safety).

3b) As car insurance is compulsory, car insurance companies are making out like bandits especially from young people. (A very relvant message about obamacare here too somewhere).

4) Just the large increase in the amount of traffic (mostly commercial) on the road. You are far more likely to encounter heavy traffic especially large slow-moving vehicles wherever you drive now, compared to a few dacades ago. This makes it hardly fun to drive anywhere any more.

I drive infinitely more now (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46006009)

Ten years ago I had just finished my bachelor's degree, didn't own a car, and was working part time for minimum wage before starting grad school. Now I actually have a career, but wasn't fortunate enough to find affordable housing within close proximity, in an area with lousy mass transit.

several factors (0)

roc97007 (608802) | about 8 months ago | (#46006013)

Cost of gas, cost of insurance, a shift in culture from interacting with other teens in person to pounding an xbox controller, greater difficulty for teens to enter the workforce (a high minimum wage drying up entry level jobs), an "entitled" mindset and dying work ethic, and a down economy. There are probably other factors, but those are probably the major ones.

Real life, why they don't drive (1)

Findithenfixit (3505445) | about 8 months ago | (#46006101)

I live in what would be termed the city of cars - Los Angeles, Yet my son and 50% of his class don't drive. . He loves LA's limited train transportation and the buses - he and his friends reasons - Less stress, saves money - don't have to deal with the hassle of maintenance - If there is no mass transport he is more then happy to walk, or take his bicycle if its longer then 5 miles. The only time he regrets it is when in rains - and as the song says - it doesn't rain in southern California (at least not much recently). Prime candidates for as needed vehicle rentals.
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