(Photo: Alex Brandon, AP)
WASHINGTON (AP) - Driving in America has stalled, leading researchers to ask: Is the national love affair with the automobile over?
After rising for decades, total vehicle use in the U.S. peaked in August 2007. It then dropped sharply during the Great Recession and has largely plateaued since.
The average miles drivers individually rack up peaked in July 2004 at just over 900 per month. By July of last year, that had fallen to 820 miles per month, down about 9 percent. Per capita automobile use is now back at the same levels as in the late 1990s.
Some researchers say the changes are mostly a reflection of the economy and driving could bounce back. Others say the decline in driving reflects fundamental changes in the way Americans view the automobile.