America's Car Fleet Shrank in 2009

Well, have a look at this: According to a new study by the Earth Policy Institute, America's total fleet of cars got smaller in 2009. Check out that little dip at the end of the "Motor Vehicles" line on the graph. The number of cars scrapped was greater than the number sold for the first time since World War II.

This is good news for the environment and for our cities.The study attributes the drop to all the familiar factors: "ongoing urbanization, economic uncertainty, oil insecurity, rising gasoline prices, frustration with traffic congestion, mounting concerns about climate change, and a declining interest in cars among young people."And to one unfamiliar one: "market saturation." We've had more cars than drivers-and the gap has been widening-since the 1970s. At a certain point, people just have enough cars. Japan reached that point a few decades ago:
Both more densely populated and highly urbanized than the United States, Japan apparently reached car saturation in 1990. Since then its annual car sales have shrunk by 21 percent. The United States appears set to follow suit.
In the States, saturation may happen to coincide with all these other environmental, economic, and demographic pressures and make for a precipitous change.Via Streetsblog DC