An industry push to design vehicles that can drive themselves to make them safer and more convenient could offer the added benefit of making them more fuel efficient, researchers say.
Fuel Efficient Cars
The number of cars on U.S. roads dropped by 4 million in 2009, the only large decline in the nation’s car fleet since the government began keeping records in 1960. While consumers bought 10 million cars during the year, another 14 million vehicles were scrapped, dropping the total to 246 million vehicles, despite the government’s “cash for clunkers” program that gave individuals as much as $4,500 to exchange older cars for more fuel-efficient models.
Analysts cited numerous factors for the decline, including high gasoline prices, improved public transportation, and the popularity of online social networking, which for many teens has replaced the automobile as a way to socialize. In a report analyzing the decline, the Earth Policy Institute says the decrease is not merely a temporary phenomenon caused by the recession.