Biggest threat to Big Oil? The Kids these days just aren’t that into you…

I’ve been meaning to post this for a while.  Borrowed the title above from an intriguing post over on Carfree USA which references an article on that bastion of environmentalism the Advertising Age.

It seems that in the US, less and less young people are driving cars.  At least that’s the inference drawn from the statistics of driver licensing there.  If you can assume that doesn’t mean more and more young people are driving illegally, it’s really rather interesting. The Ad Age posits a variety of theories for why this is from various industry big wigs including the competition brought by the digital age vying for the teen dollar i.e. ‘should I buy the latest ipod or that big ol’ chevy to take Peggy-Sue to the drive-in for to get ‘er in the back seat h’yuk yuk‘.  And my personal favourite: ‘blaming the environment’, yes that ol’ chestnut, the pesky, interfering environment ruining our swell oil-swilling (spilling?) party.

Whatever it is, it’s heartening.  I’m not big on prohibition of any kind, I don’t want to ‘ban’ cars.  I just like the idea of people using them less.  Just like I don’t want to ban McDonalds, I’d just love to see them go out of business because the kids stopped going there.

Because it’s short I’m re-posting the whole post from Carfree USA (thanks guys!) here:

Certainly it’s hard to believe for anyone stuck in traffic on the way to O’Hare airport in Chicago, a bridge or tunnel into Manhattan, any freeway in Los Angeles, or the newly repaved four-lane highway to a suburban Walmart. But look around, and the people in the other cars are likely to be in their 40s or older.

In 1978, nearly half of 16-year-olds and three-quarters of 17-year-olds in the U.S. had their driver’s licenses, according to Department of Transportation data. By 2008, the most recent year data was available, only 31% of 16-year-olds and 49% of 17-year-olds had licenses, with the decline accelerating rapidly since 1998. Of course, many states have raised the minimum age for driver’s licenses or tightened restrictions; still, the downward trend holds true for 18- and 19-year-olds as well (see chart) and those in their 20s.

Here’s the link to the source article on the Advertising Age.

By the way, it’s been ten weeks and we’re surviving!


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