Study: Young people are driving less

April 5, 2012 7:42:46 PM PDT
Car makers and oil companies are learning a new lesson, a new study shows young people are driving less and they like it that way.

If you like to drive, or have to, you could be enjoying less crowded highways in the future. According to a new California Public Interest Research Group (CALPIRG)/Frontier Group study titled "Transportation and the New Generation," fewer people getting behind the wheel.

"Cars tend to be so expensive, between buying the car, buying the gas, buying the insurance," said driver Kate Uyeda.

The CALPIRG study says that compared with 2001, in 2009 young people between the ages of 16 and 34 drove 20 percent fewer miles. In the decade between 2000 and 2010, the number of young people not getting driver's licenses rose from 21 to 26 percent, and there was a 40 percent increase in the use of public transit.

CALPIRG intern and Cal freshman Sofie Karasek is from Boston, and her parents thought she should get behind the wheel before leaving for California.

"This is kind of scary actually and there's a lot of public transit in the Bay Area so I don't really feel as though it's that necessary," Karasek said. "So maybe I'll get a driver's license eventually but right now I don't have any plans."

Olivia Richard, a prospective Cal student from Southern California we spoke with, told us she doesn't have a driver's license because her mother wants her to "focus more on school than driving," and she's fine with that. For the time being, her mom will continue to drive her to school every morning.

Andrew Kuo, a third-year student from Pleasanton, says he has not noticed a trend away from cars.

"Obviously public transit would be awesome. I've been to Asia and I love their transit systems, but the ones here aren't as convenient for me day to day. So I definitely prefer to drive," Kuo said.

The study says factors influencing the trend away from cars include concern about the environment and gas prices.


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