- ANDREW SMALL
- Feb 14, 2017
Ah, 2006! It was a simpler time. Justin Timberlake had brought “SexyBack” to everyone’s iPods. Big Momma’s House 2 was in movie theaters. Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth magicallyconvinced everyone that global warming was real. And the weirdest political scandal of the year involved the vice-president shooting his friend in the face while quail hunting.
That may have represented a pivotal moment in the long American romance with the automobile: In 2006, the nation had an average of .786 cars per person and 2.050 per household. Vehicle miles traveled peaked in 2004, with 9,314 miles per person and 24,349 miles per person. America had hit Peak Car.
After 2006, car ownership and vehicle miles began declining. But the latest installment of this research, conducted by Michael Sivak, who heads the University of Michigan’s Sustainable Worldwide Transportation research consortium—shows a hint of a rebound. In 2015, vehicle ownership rates ticked up 1.4 percent on average from 2012. Car ownership went from .744 per person in 2012 to .756 per person in 2015 and from 1.27 per household in 2013 to 1.95 per household in 2015. Distance-driven rates on average increased 2.1 percent, from 8,461 miles per person and 21,866 miles per household in 2012 to 8,648 miles per person and 22,311 miles per household.