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    New Study Shows Zero-Car Families Are On The Rise


    William Maley

    Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com

    October 9, 2013

    Don't own a vehicle? You are not alone. In fact, the number of people who don't own a vehicle is increasing.

    The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials released a brief that states the number of American households that don't own a vehicle has seen a uptick. Starting in 1960, the number of households that didn't own a vehicle declined steadily, reaching a low of 8.7 percent in 2007. But since that time, the share has been rising. In 2011, the latest year for which data is available, the share had risen to 9.3 percent.

    While the economic fallout from the recession plays a key role, authors of the brief say there are other factors in play.

    "Changes in alternatives to travel, such as communication substituting for travel and renewed interest in and availability of options such as transit, bike and walk, helped dampen interest in expanding auto ownership," the brief stated.

    This correlates to data released back in February by Federal Highway Administration which showed the number of vehicle miles traveled peaked in the U.S. in 2004. Since then, the number of vehicle miles traveled has declined steadily.

    Another factor in play is persistent narrative that Millennials don't own vehicles since they cannot afford one.

    Source: AASHTO, Aol Autos

    William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.

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    Interesting story, I think the fall in ownership is due to the crazy prices for Gas, Cost of a car, Insurance and people willing to live like a sardine in congested cities. Yet for those that live active life's you will find a car is a necessity.

    I would be wanting to know where this trend really is, east coast, west coast, mid west? I think some areas are for sure seeing a decline in ownership and yet other areas are not. I think that would play a significant roll in the accuracy of this study.

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    ah, to be held hostage by transit. yet, the cost of a vehicle is exhorbitant. the system gets engineered that way so you pay hard for your freedom. And if you don't get a car you still pay. Transit fees ain't cheap either. Once they get people hooked on that they can jack the price of that up but then subsidize it for a select group.

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    Interesting story, I think the fall in ownership is due to the crazy prices for Gas, Cost of a car, Insurance and people willing to live like a sardine in congested cities. Yet for those that live active life's you will find a car is a necessity.

    I would be wanting to know where this trend really is, east coast, west coast, mid west? I think some areas are for sure seeing a decline in ownership and yet other areas are not. I think that would play a significant roll in the accuracy of this study.

    Pretty much....we now have the highest insurance rates in the US here...makes you rethink more cars quick. Though the cost of ownership has gone through the roof...many of us pay twice (maybe even three) times more than we did a few years ago...

    I'd bet this fact alone has much to do with it....

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    I think Insurance rates do play a major part in this as more and more people either drive without insurance or they just give up on owning an auto.

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    I would bet in many urban areas it is a big factor when you combine it with the other high expenses involved in living in the city. If you can walk to work, or take a 40 minute ride on transit to work, then why pay $200 a month on insurance for a car you only drive once a week? Especially with services like Zip car and its competitors. My wife's car just gathers dust since we've moved across the street from the subway station. Such a waste of money and depreciation expense.

    Interesting side question: are insurance rates killing car ownership rates?

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    Interesting side question: are insurance rates killing car ownership rates?

    we insure 2 cars full coverage 250 deductible for 120 bucks a month at state farm. but, we have been incident and ticket free for the most part. same co. for 25 years or so. to me, that is not bad, especially in comparison to fuel, car payments and maintenance.

    when i was selling, we had to make sure insurance was set up before the car is delivered. teens and the under 25 set are getting hit hard. Maybe rightfully so because of bambi texting and driving, and in general a lot of teens not having to much clue how to drive......the insurance company should be able to charge a rate commensurate with the risk. But still, 200/mo to insure some of these folks........too much. Especially since you can't just get a 1000 dollar beater to reliably drive any more. It's 3,4,5 thou for a decent beater or minimum 200-250 car payments if you can get credit for an already ancient car.

    Our two car payments are 600/mo total. gas is amounting to 5-600 a month now with me putting 25k miles a year on. Running one car for a lot of folks, gas plus car payment plus insurance is like 700 a month. For some, they have to pay for parking too. That's too much.

    Your gas bill used to be much less than your car payment. SOme people now even with average driving, gas is 3-4 hundred a month.

    Of course, 30k for an average car is ridiculous. So is having 40k student loans upon leaving college. As is health care premiums, etc.

    Something has to give, cars are giving for a lot of folks. There is almost no cheap way to drive anymore. And don't say bikes. They don't work in blizzards.

    I would bet in many urban areas it is a big factor when you combine it with the other high expenses involved in living in the city. If you can walk to work, or take a 40 minute ride on transit to work, then why pay $200 a month on insurance for a car you only drive once a week? Especially with services like Zip car and its competitors. My wife's car just gathers dust since we've moved across the street from the subway station. Such a waste of money and depreciation expense.

    Interesting side question: are insurance rates killing car ownership rates?

    to me, if you have a big transit bill, then it is tough to also make that car payment.

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    I have found staying with the same insurance company for a long time actually does not help you in getting cheaper rates, I have found changing companies and having them compete against each other has allowed me to keep strong solid insurance with very low rates. Right now I am in year 4 at Costco and their Ameriprise Insurance beats everyone else when I go and get quotes.

    For 4 SUV's, I am paying just about 600 a month, I suggest you shop around as I think you can get cheaper insurance especially once you taking other factors into account like also covering your home insurance or if renting, renters insurance.

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    We found the same thing actually. When we went to add the Encore to our policy, the net result was going to be $2400 a year. That is too much for a 31 year old car, a 10 year old paid off crossover, and a new crossover. It was his policy and he had been with them for 9 years... I switched us to Allstate, who our house and rental properties are insured through, and cut that down to $1100 a year. We pay the 6-month bill in full for an additional discount, but less than $100 a month to cover 3 cars was fine with me.

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      “AAA found that two-thirds of Americans familiar with the technology believe that automatic emergency braking systems are designed to avoid crashes without driver intervention. The reality is that today’s systems vary greatly in performance, and many are not designed to stop a moving car,” said John Nielsen, AAA’s managing director of Automotive Engineering and Repair in a statement.
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      “AAA found that two-thirds of Americans familiar with the technology believe that automatic emergency braking systems are designed to avoid crashes without driver intervention,” said John Nielsen, AAA’s managing director of Automotive Engineering and Repair. “The reality is that today’s systems vary greatly in performance, and many are not designed to stop a moving car.”
      In partnership with the Automobile Club of Southern California’s Automotive Research Center, AAA evaluated five 2016 model-year vehicles equipped with automatic emergency braking systems for performance within system limitations and in real-world driving scenarios that were designed to push the technology’s limits. Systems were tested and compared based on the capabilities and limitations stated in the owner’s manuals and grouped into two categories — those designed to slow or stop the vehicle enough to prevent crashes, and those designed to slow the vehicle to lessen crash severity. After more than 70 trials, tests reveal:
      In terms of overall speed reduction, the systems designed to prevent crashes reduced vehicle speeds by twice that of systems that are designed to only lessen crash severity (79 percent speed reduction vs. 40 percent speed reduction). With speed differentials of under 30 mph, systems designed to prevent crashes successfully avoided collisions in 60 percent of test scenarios. Surprisingly, the systems designed to only lessen crash severity were able to completely avoid crashes in nearly one-third (33 percent) of test scenarios. When pushed beyond stated system limitations and proposed federal requirements, the variation among systems became more pronounced. When traveling at 45 mph and approaching a static vehicle, the systems designed to prevent crashes reduced speeds by 74 percent overall and avoided crashes in 40 percent of scenarios. In contrast, systems designed to lessen crash severity were only able to reduce vehicle speed by 9 percent overall. “Automatic emergency braking systems have the potential to drastically reduce the risk of injury from a crash,” said Megan McKernan, manager of the Automobile Club of Southern California’s Automotive Research Center. “When traveling at 30 mph, a speed reduction of just 10 mph can reduce the energy of crash impact by more than 50 percent.”
      In addition to the independent testing, AAA surveyed U.S. drivers to understand consumer purchase habits and trust of automatic emergency braking systems. Results reveal:
      Nine percent of U.S. drivers currently have automatic emergency braking on their vehicle. Nearly 40 percent of U.S. drivers want automatic emergency braking on their next vehicle. Men are more likely to want an automatic emergency braking system in their next vehicle (42 percent) than female drivers (35 percent). Two out of five U.S. drivers trust automatic emergency braking to work. Drivers who currently own a vehicle equipped with automatic emergency braking system are more likely to trust it to work (71 percent) compared to drivers that have not experienced the technology (41 percent). “When shopping for a new vehicle, AAA recommends considering one equipped with an automatic emergency braking system,” continued Nielsen. “However, with the proliferation of vehicle technology, it’s more important than ever for drivers to fully understand their vehicle’s capabilities and limitations before driving off the dealer lot.”
      For its potential to reduce crash severity, 22 automakers representing 99 percent of vehicle sales have committed to making automatic emergency braking systems standard on all new vehicles by 2022. The U.S. Department of Transportation said this voluntary agreement will make the safety feature available on new cars up to three years sooner than could be achieved through the formal regulatory process. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, rear-end collisions, which automatic emergency braking systems are designed to mitigate, result in nearly 2,000 fatalities and more than 500,000 injuries annually. Currently, 10 percent of new vehicles have automatic emergency braking as standard equipment, and more than half of new vehicles offer the feature as an option.
    • By William Maley
      Back in June, we learned that Skoda (a Czech brand under the Volkswagen group) was investigating possibly entering new markets. One of those new markets was North America, a place where 20 percent of global car sales take place. At the time our original report, Skoda hasn't set a timeframe for a decision. Also as we noted, Skoda would need to get more crossovers and SUVs ready if they want to try and make inroads in the U.S.
       
      Speaking of SUVs and the U.S., a recent article done by Autocar piqued our interest. Skoda CEO Bernhard Maier said if they were to launch the brand in the U.S. in the near future, they would have their upcoming seven-seat Kodiaq leading the charge.
       
      “If we do decide to compete in the US, we will have one chance to make a good first impression. We feel that if we were there now, the Kodiaq would be a home-run car,” said Maier.
       
      Maier did stress that the U.S. isn't on Skoda's immediate radar. At the moment, the brand is looking closely at Iran, Singapore, and South Korea as possible new markets. But Maier isn't saying the U.S. isn't on their radar at all.
       
      “America is the one that we don't currently compete in with the biggest potential.”
       
      Skoda appears to have taken a page out of PSA Peugeot Citroën's playbook. Autocar says the automaker has begun a feasibility study as to whether or not it makes sense to enter the U.S.
       
      Source: Autocar
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