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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

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Old 11-18-10, 04:55 PM   #1
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Carmakers' next problem: Generation Y

From http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/39970363/ns/business-autos
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Meet Natalie McVeigh, the auto industry’s latest headache.

At 25 years old, McVeigh lives in Denver and has two good jobs, as a research analyst and an adjunct professor of philosophy. What she doesn’t have — or want — is a car.

A confluence of events — environmental worries, a preference for gadgets over wheels and the yearslong economic doldrums — is pushing some teens and twentysomethings to opt out of what has traditionally been considered an American rite of passage: Owning a car.
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Old 11-18-10, 05:20 PM   #2
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Their loss I guess

I have a 26 year old son that lives car free and a 24 year old daughter that is car less and lives extremely car light. She and her 3 room mates share a single car and only put 5,000 miles on it last year and half of that was driving it from NJ to Seattle, WA.

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Old 11-18-10, 07:23 PM   #3
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And yet GM is making a comback and is now back on the stock market. Chrysler in planning on getting back in and all the economist expect the government, that is supposed to be us, will make their money back, all 50+Billion in a year maybe two. I wonder who should be more worried? Then again I might be slanted because the news has had the LA auto show on for two days.
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Old 11-19-10, 07:49 AM   #4
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And yet GM is making a comback and is now back on the stock market. Chrysler in planning on getting back in and all the economist expect the government, that is supposed to be us, will make their money back, all 50+Billion in a year maybe two. I wonder who should be more worried? Then again I might be slanted because the news has had the LA auto show on for two days.
I promise you neither GM nor Chrysler will get a single penny of mine, and I am sure I am not the only person that feels this way. Chrysler has gone bankrupt twice now and left others holding the bag for their mis-management. Yes they are making money (at least on paper) but they have left behind a trail of bad debt that others have had to absorb, ditto GM. I don't consider bankruptcy a form of business management, but it seems to be used way too often.

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Old 11-19-10, 11:47 AM   #5
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And yet GM is making a comback and is now back on the stock market. Chrysler in planning on getting back in and all the economist expect the government, that is supposed to be us, will make their money back, all 50+Billion in a year maybe two. I wonder who should be more worried? Then again I might be slanted because the news has had the LA auto show on for two days.
Robert:

What the article was trying to point out was a new trend among those born after 1980. For the first time, we are seeing people delay getting their driver's license or buying cars altogether. This trend continues for those considered the Millennials, born after the year 2000. Those of us on the forum are not in this group but it's good to see the next generation will follow in our footsteps.

I happen to believe what you are seeing is future of America looking to get out of the two car trap. It's not just the high cost of vehicles or insurance anymore that is making auto ownership unattractive. Employers are paying people less and dropping their health care. While real estate dropped recently, it's still overpriced and I believe an additional correction is on the way. You used to be able to buy a new large house in the burbs cheaply. Not any more. The whole concept of having a big family and living in a big house with multiple cars was an ideal of the Baby Boomers. Not the current generation.
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Old 11-19-10, 12:29 PM   #6
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Robert:

What the article was trying to point out was a new trend among those born after 1980. For the first time, we are seeing people delay getting their driver's license or buying cars altogether. This trend continues for those considered the Millennials, born after the year 2000. Those of us on the forum are not in this group but it's good to see the next generation will follow in our footsteps.

I happen to believe what you are seeing is future of America looking to get out of the two car trap. It's not just the high cost of vehicles or insurance anymore that is making auto ownership unattractive. Employers are paying people less and dropping their health care. While real estate dropped recently, it's still overpriced and I believe an additional correction is on the way. You used to be able to buy a new large house in the burbs cheaply. Not any more. The whole concept of having a big family and living in a big house with multiple cars was an ideal of the Baby Boomers. Not the current generation.
Ditto to all of this. My son lives 0.5 miles from where he works. He and his wife are both 25 and have purchased a small house close to both of their immediate familes(except me). They are in the process of purchasing a small rental property and plan on building on that in terms of real estate. Can't seem to convince him to ride or walk to work...he grew up in the car-centric 'burbs and has alot of that mentality. But, the town they live in has alot of amentities close by. Anyway, I can see a shift in the values as they look down the barrels of a future of indebtedness. My son says it gives him a sick feeling in his stomach. That's a good thing. Gives me hope for them.
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Old 11-19-10, 12:39 PM   #7
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As someone else mentioned, if there's a shift away from the two-car trap, that will be huge progress. Except for those who choose to live in urban areas, I don't see car-free living becoming a dominant trend at present, but cutting down on car use is something within our grasp.
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Old 11-19-10, 05:47 PM   #8
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Robert:

What the article was trying to point out was a new trend among those born after 1980. For the first time, we are seeing people delay getting their driver's license or buying cars altogether. This trend continues for those considered the Millennials, born after the year 2000. Those of us on the forum are not in this group but it's good to see the next generation will follow in our footsteps.

I happen to believe what you are seeing is future of America looking to get out of the two car trap. It's not just the high cost of vehicles or insurance anymore that is making auto ownership unattractive. Employers are paying people less and dropping their health care. While real estate dropped recently, it's still overpriced and I believe an additional correction is on the way. You used to be able to buy a new large house in the burbs cheaply. Not any more. The whole concept of having a big family and living in a big house with multiple cars was an ideal of the Baby Boomers. Not the current generation.
Yes, but I will believe what I see only after I see it. Our green coalition is working hard to get bake lanes and even separate bike paths put in and it has indeed been a fight. One developer comes in and offers to put in a anchor store and big shopping mall and the city council is willing to sacrifice a large undeveloped piece of land out on the edge of the town and a monstrous discount and a 20 year payback before they will see any profit. In other words no fight at all. The Y generation will be faced with whatever infrastructure is put in place today and I am not sure that infrastructure will allow the 10 percent some are pulling for, and that I would love to see.
It could happen and stranger things have happened but the Y generation has little or no political voice and a rather small fiscal presents at the current time. The option may be there but the offerings given to them will mold the future far more than their personal insight I am afraid.
Unless we find something to manufacturer, and yes green jobs qualify, like EV, Mass transit and affordable housing that doesn’t produce heat islands our Y generation could end up being a worse, Consumer nation than we already are.
If I were to make a prediction it would be that private transportation has at least one more big recovery in the US. I don’t expect to see a 10 percent cycling commuter population in the next 20 to 30 years. After that you can flip a coin but the infrastructure for car like vehicles is being funded today and that will shape the future for at least the next 10 to 20 years till someone from the Y generation can ever consider getting into a position to influence the direction our society will take.
Just take a glance at the House in Washington and ask yourself if there will be any changes in direction in the next two years? And remember the Y generation still has to wait for the Boomers to give up and then see what gen X does. They are a way down the line not necessarly the current generation.
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Old 11-19-10, 06:53 PM   #9
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I think young people today are smart enough to see that household incomes are declining slowly but steadily for most people. They know there's a good chance that they simply won't be able to afford cars, at least not until they're done paying off college loans. That's probably the main reason we're seeing a slight decline in car ownership and aspirations of young people to own cars.
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Old 11-19-10, 11:09 PM   #10
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Remember, I am not saying anyone is wrong in their opinion. My nephew is an avid cicy dweller that is considering moving to New York or Chicago from Long Beach because he like the city and the idea of mass transit. He is gen X however and has two cars, his and his wife's. I have my doubts that he will move because he "hates" the cold but you never know.

I have a chance to talk to a lot of people in some of our community meetings and may of them are young and use mass transportation. Without better infrastructure they are frustrated and something you hear quite often is, if they ever get to the point where they can afford a car they will never ride a bus again. My sister who just retired from the OCTA confirms this sentiment just about every time we get together.

It is what we as a nation are spending money on to build infrastructure that causes me pause when it comes to believing that gen Y will have any effect on the transportation of the future.

Maybe it is simply how long range we see as being the future. I can very little change out to 20 years looking from today’s perspective. I can’t really envision 50 years out without more indicators than we now have.
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Old 11-20-10, 12:43 AM   #11
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I think this is a real trend, but not an earth-shattering one. I'm a teacher of middle school students, and most of them report that they would love to have a car some day. Most of them get to school via SUV, and many of them make fun of me for riding a bike to school. However, they are quite aware of the economic situation, and many have expressed the opinion that they probably won't be as rich as their parents. More to the point, virtually all of my students have indicated that their media devices are far more important to them than any car would ever be. Cars are a nice luxury to them; their iPhones are perceived as totally necessary.
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Old 11-20-10, 01:01 AM   #12
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I think this is a real trend, but not an earth-shattering one. I'm a teacher of middle school students, and most of them report that they would love to have a car some day. Most of them get to school via SUV, and many of them make fun of me for riding a bike to school. However, they are quite aware of the economic situation, and many have expressed the opinion that they probably won't be as rich as their parents. More to the point, virtually all of my students have indicated that their media devices are far more important to them than any car would ever be. Cars are a nice luxury to them; their iPhones are perceived as totally necessary.
Do they consider the environment?
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Old 11-20-10, 07:28 AM   #13
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Remember, I am not saying anyone is wrong in their opinion. My nephew is an avid cicy dweller that is considering moving to New York or Chicago from Long Beach because he like the city and the idea of mass transit. He is gen X however and has two cars, his and his wife's. I have my doubts that he will move because he "hates" the cold but you never know.

I have a chance to talk to a lot of people in some of our community meetings and may of them are young and use mass transportation. Without better infrastructure they are frustrated and something you hear quite often is, if they ever get to the point where they can afford a car they will never ride a bus again. My sister who just retired from the OCTA confirms this sentiment just about every time we get together.

It is what we as a nation are spending money on to build infrastructure that causes me pause when it comes to believing that gen Y will have any effect on the transportation of the future.

Maybe it is simply how long range we see as being the future. I can very little change out to 20 years looking from today’s perspective. I can’t really envision 50 years out without more indicators than we now have.
There is going to be change: Peak Oil and Global Climate Change are the elephants in the room. Add in loss of capital and staggering national debt...there will be changes.

Which way they will go I have no clue, but there will be changes. We as a country cannot keep doing pretty much the same thing and expect different results. There are a couple of other things on the horizon too, we are getting ready to head into a series of solar storms that are expected to peak in 2012, this could lead to some EMF destruction of parts of the electrical grid, government bailout? Also the US is grossly overbuilt in commercial/retail real estate, that market has not corrected yet and could actually be more expensive than the housing crash.

Changes are coming....

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Old 11-22-10, 12:42 AM   #14
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I live down the street from one of the busiest subway stations in Toronto. Thousands of people each day use it as a hub to travel from gettting to one end of the city to another. Combine the super busy station (train and buses) with super busy roads filled with cars just outside that station. Craziest thing I hear passing by people on the sidewalks? "Wow, it's always so busy here. I should get a car to make it easier for me.". Makes me twitch. If all of those transit riders used a car to get here or go through here, the city would have to build double decker streets.

I hope Gen Yers add 2 and 2 to come up with "thousands of extra cars will be a disaster".

Shoot... Bikes are much more convenient than a single person in a car. Much cheaper (think extra money for toys). And for people living in an urban setting, the odds are housing and parking are terribly expensive for what you get. Cutting back on a car is easier to do than finding affordable housing.
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Old 11-22-10, 04:35 AM   #15
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Robert,

Here is an analysis from Tom Whipple. He seems to have a better grasp on Peak Oil than most. He is not playing chicken little, he calls it as he sees it.

Aaron
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Old 11-22-10, 07:32 AM   #16
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There's also been a shift back to urban living as cities like my own (Philly) see a revival after decades of population loss. Out of my group of friends (all between 25-40), two were born and raised in the suburbs of Philadelphia; the rest of us moved to the city from all over the place, and many of us have settled down and bought homes here. I would say car ownership is still common amongst our friends but quite a few have lived without cars for at least a portion of their lives. And as car share vehicles and bike lanes continue to pop up all over the city, I have a feeling more people will make the choice we did to ditch the car.
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Old 11-22-10, 09:42 AM   #17
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Remember, I am not saying anyone is wrong in their opinion. My nephew is an avid city dweller that is considering moving to New York or Chicago from Long Beach because he like the city and the idea of mass transit. He is gen X however and has two cars, his and his wife's. I have my doubts that he will move because he "hates" the cold but you never know.
Has he looked into downtown L.A.? I'm amazed at how much that area has come alive. And he could visit his Long Beach friends by taking the Yellow Line.
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Old 11-22-10, 12:58 PM   #18
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I only know a couple of teenagers. The boy wants an old Ford truck from the late 70s and he wants the biggest V8 engine he can get with as much power as possible.

One of my neighbors has a ten year old boy. He has two motorcycles and a plays with his fathers snowmobile. The father has at least two cars. With such a role model around it makes me think he'll probably want as many vehicles when he grows up.

Perhaps he'll remember me riding around town with a bicycle and a moped when he gets old enough to need to buy his own vehicles. I'll be moving away within a year so I don't think I'll be in his mind when he gets his first drivers license.
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Old 11-22-10, 03:13 PM   #19
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Robert,

Here is an analysis from Tom Whipple. He seems to have a better grasp on Peak Oil than most. He is not playing chicken little, he calls it as he sees it.

Aaron
Thanks so much for posting that article, Aaron. Tom Whipple "tells it like it is," not only about Peak Oil, but also about climate change.
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Old 11-22-10, 03:16 PM   #20
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I'll be moving away within a year...
If you don't mind telling us, where are you going? Montana is a lovely place to be leaving.
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Old 11-22-10, 04:06 PM   #21
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Has he looked into downtown L.A.? I'm amazed at how much that area has come alive. And he could visit his Long Beach friends by taking the Yellow Line.
I rather doubt his wife will support a move anyway. But she is very unlikely to leave Belmont Shores for Downtown LA. They are only a few blocks from the ocean so I believe they will end up getting a Duplex so he can move our sister in the second unit. I know you aren’t talking about Central East Downtown, the old section of skid row. That has mostly been replaced with a new business district. The rest of downtown is getting better during the day. But people living in Redondo, Long Beach Santa Monica or Brentwood are already living in a nicer area than downtown. My nephew might be willing to give it a shot and would be the best candidate to go car free with a better transportation system.
That being said he will be fighting two strong willed women and his wife has several sisters and friends she hangs out with. She drives a lot.
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Old 11-22-10, 05:09 PM   #22
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Thanks so much for posting that article, Aaron. Tom Whipple "tells it like it is," not only about Peak Oil, but also about climate change.
I have been following Tom Whipple for a few years now. It is worth the time to dig through the archives of his articles. I almost wish someone would consolidate them into a book.

Aaron
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Old 11-22-10, 09:04 PM   #23
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If you don't mind telling us, where are you going? Montana is a lovely place to be leaving.
I'll either move closer to work six miles away or if I end up hating the cold more than usual, I'll try living someplace extra warm like Phoenix. I've heard there are plenty of spots open there for the new company for which I'm working. After working for them for six months I'll be eligible for transfers. I'll be switching from one weather extreme to another. Seattle seems like a decent place to live and the company has regular openings there too. I don't know if I could live with perpetual cloudiness.

I can't believe the crappy weather we're having. It's February weather in November. Where's the global warming? It's forty to fifty degrees below normal all this week.

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Old 11-22-10, 09:10 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
I have been following Tom Whipple for a few years now. It is worth the time to dig through the archives of his articles. I almost wish someone would consolidate them into a book.

Aaron
What I worry about more than peak oil, not that it isn’t an important issue even if Miller and Hubbert, not sure of the name, both were predicting it in the 70s. I sort of worry about what will happen if we try to extract the shale oil from Canada and other places and it causes problems from the steam assisted gravity process they will use. Addicted people will go extremes to feed their addiction.

My touch stones over the years have been:
1. Zero Population Growth when I thought it had a chance of being accepted. But only the developed world even gives a nod to it.
2.The problems and solutions for heat Islands. It was a big concern when I was in college by my more liberal environmental professors.
3. And the destruction of our rain forests. The lungs of earth are being destroyed faster than we can replace any form of green belt.
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Old 11-22-10, 11:09 PM   #25
gerv 
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I sort of worry about what will happen if we try to extract the shale oil from Canada and other places and it causes problems from the steam assisted gravity process they will use.
Worry no more. Shale oil from Alberta is now one of the major sources of US oil and -- right you are -- the process to extract it is extremely polluting and the remaining settling ponds will mar the northern landscape for many generations to come.
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