Michael Sivak, of the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute, notes that vehicle registrations and miles driven are both declining on a per capita basis, as is fuel consumed. In fact, those numbers all peaked between 2001 and 2006.
One study by Volpe Transportation Center researchers Don Pickrell and David Pace (via NBC News) showed that miles driven peaked in July 2004, at 900 miles per month. Eight years later, that number had declined to 820 miles. Meanwhile, another study this year by Doug Short using population-adjusted Department of Transportation data paints a similar picture.
Sure, U.S. car and truck sales climbed back to 14.5 million last year after plummeting to just 10.4 million in 2009 amid the worst of the recession. However, despite those recovering sales, the average age of vehicles on the road has reached a record 11.4 years, up from 11.2 years last year.
Kyle Woodley is Deputy Managing Editor at InvestorPlace. As of this writing, he did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.