WDEL Blog: Allan Loudell

Multi-generational passion for cars now diminishing

I remember interviewing a young lady some years ago for a news reporting job. She excelled in writing, current events knowledge, and all the rest. Two questions I didn't ask in that first interview: Do you drive? Do you have access to a vehicle? She didn't.

Growing up in the Philadelphia suburbs, she had never taken driver's ed, and she routinely used public transportation. It had never occurred to me to ask such questions.

Of course, I am from a generation where most young people couldn't wait to drive. Access to a car afforded independence, and depending on the vehicle, bragging rights. A generation before mine remembers drive-in theaters.

Obviously, in-car listening has been a critical component for the radio broadcasting industry.

But that young lady may have underscored a developing trend, which, if it continues, could deal a crippling blow to the now somewhat recovering U.S. auto manufacturing industry: A generation coming up which doesn't see the automobile as absolutely essential, eschewing cars for public transportation, bicycling, walking, whatever. And just plain telecommunications via social media without having to go anywhere.

Think about the implications. Staggering. Of course, from an environmental / ecological point-of-view, this would be a welcome development. But beware bicycle jams. The NEW YORK TIMES recently chronicled all the problems with bikes in The Netherlands.

America goes from SUVs to cycles in one or two generations?

Sunday's PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER took a look at the trends in transportation...


Posted at 7:17am on July 29, 2013 by Allan Loudell

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Comments on this post:

Mon, Jul 29, 2013 9:11am
At least bikes don't leave piles of fecal matter one has to dodge. So they are an improvement over horses, to be sure.

I would have to echo that sentiment among young people. In a recent conversation with 25-year-olds, none of whom had driven since mandatory drivers ed, the main reason they cited was financial. So we worked it out. With what one gets paid, minus the high cost of rent (for them, none owned a house), the cost of their smart phone bill, the cost of utilities (if not included), then food and clothing, only leaves them $5000 a year if they are averaging around $30,000. (A lot of them were silent and I interpreted that as they were making less. Let's put it this way: the vocal ones were making $30,000.)

So that $5000 left over, per month, comes to $416. Which means the car, repair, and most particularly insurance, would need to settle under that limit. Insurance would settle around $1600 so everything else would have to come under $3400. If the car were free, then under the tightest budget, they could afford to acquire $65 of gas a week.

Is it any wonder they don't want a car?

Mon, Jul 29, 2013 12:12pm
I have not driven a car in more than 18 months. Two years ago, I had to take a 47% pay cut in order to remain employed. Soon, it was obvious that some cuts in expenditures would be necessary! So, thanks to SEPTA, I make the daily commute from Newark to my job in Delaware County. On days when I cannot make the walk to work from the train station, I call for a cab. The cost is still less than the car would cost for the 64-mile trip each day.

Mon, Jul 29, 2013 9:50pm
It looks like Obama is finally getting the result he's been looking for. It's been on his agenda from the get-go to make the automobile unaffordable so he could then break the backs and the banks of the American people. Now all he has left to do is implement his health care scheme and America will be flat on its back.

Mon, Jul 29, 2013 10:51pm
Pizza. Where was it on his agenda that he was making the automobile unaffordable? I read his agendas for 5 years, and I haven't seen it. Can you help me out?

And how is saving money on insurance going to put America flat on its back. I got my insurance company rebate from them overcharging me this week. Did you get yours yet.

Yay! We all love Obamacare! Unbelievable. All these years they were socking me $3000 too much and I never knew it. Only now, thanks to Obama care, do they have to pay it back. 'Bout time someone showed crooked insurance companies who is boss! The American People! That's who.

Tue, Jul 30, 2013 6:55am
Kavips: You live in a fantasy world. Gas was $1.75 a gallon when Obama took office. It's now about $3.75 a gallon.

The only people Obamacare saves money for is the freeloaders.

All the rest of us are already paying more, and starting in 2014, people will REALLY REALLY be paying more. Why? Because his hokey scheme has to be paid for out of SOMEBODY's pocket, and that somebody would be you and me.

Get back to me when you're on a 6-month waiting list to get treated for a disease that your doctor just told you that you only have 3 months before it kills you. THAT's how Obamacare will "save" money.

Tue, Jul 30, 2013 12:16pm
Pizza. It is funny you call others out for living in a fantasy world, then go on to prove that is where you make your home.

First, you are blaming Obama for gas being $3.75 now. When Bush was president, it was $4.75. You should be thanking your lucky stars that Obama is saving you $1 dollar for every gallon of gas you use! In fact, you should be thanking him still for making it $1.75 a gallon back when he took office. Weeks before, it was $4.75..... You get one check mark for living an a fantasy world.. Check.

Next. The only people not paying more are freeloaders? That depends on your definition of freeloaders. If you mean all of America, then you might have a point, because all of America is saving money on insurance when this goes into effect. Let me teach you, since you obviously don't know. Obamacare will save the Federal Government money on Medicare. Obamacare will save the states money on Medicare. Obamacare will save businesses money that currently provides insurance to their employees. Obamacare will save money to those paying for insurance because there is a limit on how much an insurer can make off each person. Obamacare will save physicians money because billing will be simpler, streamlined, and collections will have teeth. Obamacare will save parents money who before had to pay full coverage to insure children between 18 and 25. Obamacare will save lives because insurers can no longer refuse to cover pre-existing conditions. Obamacare makes healthy doctors visits at no cost, saving lives on those who could easily prevent a condition early, but under current rules must wait for treatment until the condition is deemed to be life-threatening.

Second checkmark for Mr. Pizza living in a fantasy world. Check. To our other readers, it is apparent that Mr. Pizza can't separate the propaganda by insurance companies from what gets reported in the newspaper. It is as if Mr. Pizza's driver gets mugged in North Wilmington, and he takes up for the robber. The whole reason Obamacare came into effect at all, was because American citizens were being robbed by private insurers. They were collecting premiums, then refusing to pay for health-care, killing millions. Pizza fails to mention that reality. It's as if the insurers were robbing the American people. Obamacare acts like the policeman guarding the corner to make sure robberies stop, and the robber files a complaint against the policeman, because he can't make his money. Pizza is taking the claim of the robber seriously... Try living in the real world, Mr. Pizza, where cops are the good guys!

Third, Mr. Pizza states all of us are paying more. To whom? To whom are you paying more right now? Not in taxes.. not in fees... Are the robbers robbing you again Mr. Pizza, 'cause they know you won't call the cops or something? Truth, is.. unless one's insurance carrier is scalping you now while it can, before the laws go fully into effect next January, you are getting much more and paying less. Maybe it's time Pizza gets another insurance company... Try telling the cop on the corner the bad robbers are holding you up? Silly man.

In fact, put right here, who your carrier is, how much he is charging you, what his rates are, how much per person it costs you, etc., and I will call the proper authorities for you to ensure no illegalities are being foisted upon my fellow believer in Christ. Seriously. Embarrass your crooked privateer insurance company by going public. We'll help you. Lay it out here. We'll put a real-world hurtin on em.

Tue, Jul 30, 2013 6:22pm
Kavips: You asked me to help you out with Obama's agenda. Just follow one simple rule: What Obama SAYS his agenda is is the exact opposite of what it really is. Just follow that rule, and you'll get to the truth. Try it.

Wed, Jul 31, 2013 4:19pm
So based on Mr. Pizza's bizarre analogy (getting a little weird there, are you?)... President Obama is now:

against fighting climate change.
against common core
against cutting the military
against increased taxes
against increased spending for necessary infrastructure.
against homosexuality
against choice
against taking rich peoples money
against ending the war in Afghanistan
against cutting military spending
against Obamacare...

Mr. Pizza. If you ever thought of what you were saying before you said it, you'd be dangerous.

Wed, Jul 31, 2013 8:41pm
Kavips: Your president is all about himself. Whichever direction the wind is blowing is what he's for or against. The fact is, all the things you list above are what he SHOULD be against, and has lied about his positions on all of them.

You are one of the most gullible people on the planet. Whatever Obama or any other dictator has to say you swallow hook, line, and sinker.

I hope you'll be happy once America falls under communism.

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