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America's continued love affair with the automobile
December 1, 2006 10:03 AM   Subscribe

A study released by CERA has some interesting tidbits: the average motorist in 2005 used 703 gallons of gas, and drove 40 percent more than 25 years ago; the US has 1,148 registered personal vehicles for every 1,000 licensed drivers; the percentage of vehicles that are SUVs (including minivans and light trucks) is slowly going down from 55% in 2005 to 53% in 2006; the average fuel consumption for all vehicles is 19.8 mpg in 2005, a drop from when it peaked at 20.2 in 2001; and the share of U.S. household budgets going to gasoline and oil has has been relatively stable for decades, at about 3.8 percent in 2006.
posted by jaimev (18 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Jeez, I didn't know SUV/vans/trucks were still so ubiquitous. It's a shame that we're not moving towards a 30+mpg average, but if everyone is only spending 4% of their income on gasoline, there's no incentive to change things.
posted by mathowie at 10:12 AM on December 1, 2006


And gas mileage hasn't gotten any better since 1908.
posted by gottabefunky at 10:29 AM on December 1, 2006


"the US has 1,148 registered personal vehicles for every 1,000 licensed drivers"

7 cars, four drivers in this household. I'm doing my part.

As far as mileage:

My commuter car: 32mpg
Wife's truck: 16mpg.
Son's commuter car: 27mpg
Family minivan: 22mpg
Son's cruiser: 9mpg
My cruiser: 12mpg
Race car: ??? (Maybe 10 gallons a year, 1/4 mile at a time)

A quickie estimate shows we probably use around 2400 gallons of gas a year, which would work out to about 7.5% of our yearly budget at $2.50 a gallon.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 10:49 AM on December 1, 2006


the average motorist in 2005 used 703 gallons of gas

Or, in technical terms, 1.53 tyrannosauri rex.
posted by Creosote at 11:18 AM on December 1, 2006


we probably use around 2400 gallons of gas a year, which would work out to about 7.5% of our yearly budget at $2.50 a gallon

Or 22.8 tons of CO2 per year (at a round 19 lbs/gal, dropping to 20 tons if we use 16.8 lbs for E-10 fuel). The study's "average motorist" donates 6.7 tons.
posted by nickmark at 11:21 AM on December 1, 2006


"Or 22.8 tons of CO2 per year (at a round 19 lbs/gal, dropping to 20 tons if we use 16.8 lbs for E-10 fuel). The study's "average motorist" donates 6.7 tons."

Right on. I can see the bumper stickers now: "The Davis Family: Doing more than our part to ensure global warming since 2003".
posted by mr_crash_davis at 11:25 AM on December 1, 2006


Actually, with those 22.8 tons spread over four drivers, you're slacking. Four average drivers would be over 25 tons.
posted by nickmark at 11:28 AM on December 1, 2006


And gas mileage hasn't gotten any better since 1908.

The ratio may remain the same

1) but we are not factoring acceleration
2) and average speed
3) and the consequent time "savings"

but it isn't the only thing I would worry about

a) absolute quantity consumed must be increased from 1908 as much more people drive and more often and for longer trips
b) absolute avaiable quantity of oil is very likely to decrease at a rather much faster than natural replenishment, unless the earth is 5000 years old and God is in good mood
c) yes , brittany, we don't have Tyrannosauri anymore to turn into oil
d) yes, daisy, we are razing the plants that should in theory replenish our supplies
e) we increasingly need standup comedian skills to raise the tiniest amount of attention from short attention span, undereducated readers ; imagine raising engineers in such an environment
f) the demand is likely to increase at a rate that parallels enrichment of india/china
posted by elpapacito at 11:33 AM on December 1, 2006


Why lump minivans in with SUVs? I have 4 kids (I am trying to field a basketball team; still need a center) and, with 2 of them in car seats, our choices are minivan, SUV or walking (which we do sometimes). Our 7-pass. minivan gets much better mileage (25/19) than 7-pass. SUVs.

-Minivan aficionado
posted by Mister_A at 11:54 AM on December 1, 2006


Why lump minivans in with SUVs?

Probably because most van drivers don't have six people in their families and could instead drive a more economical car.
posted by pracowity at 12:57 PM on December 1, 2006


Or because they're classed with light trucks by the EPA. The better-mileage minivans help bump up the corporate average (the CA in CAFE standards) light-truck mileage to help the car maker meet the mileage requirements for their overall truck fleet -- meaning they can make the gas-guzzling SUVs.
posted by nickmark at 1:08 PM on December 1, 2006


Quit complaining you slackers - get out there and use your share of the rapidly diminishing resource. When it's all gone, you will have wished that you did. B'sides it sure in the hell beats walking to work in 100 deg and 100% humidity for 10 months a year here in hell.

As far as the breakdown...

My wife and I BOTH drive imports.

I spend about 20.00/wk x 52 = 1040.00 per year in my smallish SUV (Nissan Pathfinder) AND my Honda 1100VTC. FWIW, I try to take my motorcycle to work at least once a week.

My wife spends est. 12.00 per week x 52 = 624.00

1400.00/yr SUV and bike
+624.00/yr Toyota
-------------
2024.00 rough estimate.

Estimated of gross pay is less than 3.5%.

Yep e-thing checks out.
posted by winks007 at 1:28 PM on December 1, 2006


"The Davis Family: Doing more than our part to ensure global warming since 2003".

May the road rise to meet you. When you least expect it. In the form of a draw bridge.
posted by pracowity at 1:41 PM on December 1, 2006


That would be polluting the river with turds and gasoline, pracowity !
posted by elpapacito at 1:49 PM on December 1, 2006


In the event that my fuel costs seem a bit low - it's because I work 6 miles from home and my wife works less than 4 miles from home. Both kids go to school about 3 blocks from the house. We spend a majority of our fuel dollars on trips and mini-vacations, running kids around and errands.

I really didn't start complaing till I noticed that gas tripled during a period in which over the counter motor oil prices did not even double.

I sure one of you mefites can explain this in a way that makes sense, how come gas went from 1.00 - 3.00 and during that same time frame, motor oil went from 1.19/qt for Exxon Superflow to 1.59/qt. Accroding to my understanding, they should go up (or down) hand-in-hand with the gasoline prices. Am I that far off-base? Holla
posted by winks007 at 1:56 PM on December 1, 2006


*Accroding*, nice one Bob. According. Sorry
posted by winks007 at 1:58 PM on December 1, 2006


Quit complaining you slackers - get out there and use your share of the rapidly diminishing resource. When it's all gone, you will have wished that you did.

This is why we can't have nice things.
posted by booksandlibretti at 2:52 PM on December 1, 2006


nickmark writes "because they're classed with light trucks class="TargetAlertIcon" ="chrome://targetalert/content/skin/external.png"> by the EPA. The better-mileage minivans help bump up the corporate average (the CA in CAFE standards) light-truck mileage to help the car maker meet the mileage requirements for their overall truck fleet -- meaning they can make the gas-guzzling SUVs."

PT Cruisers are EPA light trucks, every two they sell allows DC to sell a V10 Ram and that incentive is the only reason they were brought to market.
posted by Mitheral at 9:42 AM on December 5, 2006


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