Yahoo News reported that people under 55 are not as interested in driving as previous generations were.
From Yahoo News:
The percentage of young people with a driver’s license has plunged during the last several years, according to a new study by the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute. In 2008, for instance, 65.4% of 18-year-olds had a driver’s license. Now, 60.1% do. The trend has been underway for decades but seems to have intensified since the recession that began at the end of 2007.
In all age groups from 16 to 69, the percentage of Americans with a license has fallen since 2008. Above 70, it has inched up from 78.4% to 79%.The percentage of people holding valid drivers licenses in 2014 dropped from 1983 by every age group under 55.
It increased for everyone 55 and older. That would be everyone born before 1960, which includes most of the baby boomers (which officially covers everyone born between 1946 and 1964, inclusive).
Several factors come into play. Many states imposed restrictions on licensing for teenagers in those intervening years. Also, today's retirees are healthier than retirees 33 years ago, which means they keep driving. The recession, too, plays a role as percentage of drivers fell for every group except those 70 and older, which increased.
While Yahoo said car companies are terrified of this, I doubt it. The nation's population keeps increasing and despite tighter restrictions on driving -- at least for those legally in the United States -- the customer base for cars keeps expanding. Right now the population of the United States Europe has 473 passenger cars per 1000 people; the United States has a world-beating 769. Saturated market? Perhaps, but replacement of cars in the United States still makes for a large market. Sales last year were 17,470,659 passenger cars -- a record.
On the horizon, of course, are self-driving cars. I am saving for mine. Hopefully it will be voice-activated and we all know what voice command we want the most: "Make it so."