Cars Suck

Centuries ago, a young man said something to me I’ll never forget. “Cars suck.”

This was so long ago that “suck” was a rather shocking word, but something in my soul responded to that totally original statement. Yes, I hate cars too.

I don’t hate my own car, because unlike the ones I drove then, the hole in the floor is not big enough to stick your foot through. I can confidently expect to arrive where I’m going almost all the time. And I only have to pay for repairs a couple of times a year, it’s a good car.

Still, I’ll be glad when they’re gone. I plan to outlive the automobile. I see signs of a walking, biking future, where trolleys run again…

For six decades, Americans have tended to drive more every year. But in the middle of the last decade, the number of miles driven — both over all and per capita — began to drop, notes a report to be published on Tuesday by U.S. Pirg, a nonprofit advocacy organization.

People tend to drive less during recessions, since fewer people are working (and commuting), and most are looking for ways to save money. But Phineas Baxandall, an author of the report and senior analyst for U.S. Pirg, said the changes preceded the recent recession and appeared to be part of a structural shift that is largely rooted in changing demographics, especially the rise of so-called millennials — today’s teenagers and twentysomethings. “Millennials aren’t driving cars,” he said.

Change is slow, but unstoppable. A car, ultimately, is a means of transportation. And better ideas are coming.

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