America’s Ongoing Love Affair With the Car

lead_large (7)With all the consternation in some corners about the so-called “war on cars,” you’d think Americans were giving up their automobiles in droves in favor of mass transit, biking, walking, or telecommuting.

But the latest report on commuting habits from the U.S. Census Bureaureminds us that when it comes to getting to and from work, the United States remains overwhelmingly an auto-dependent nation. The report, by Brian McKenzie of the Census’s Journey to Work and Migration Statistics Branch, finds that 86 percent of U.S. workers get to work in a car. The study is based on data from the 2013 American Community Survey (ACS).

The chart below shows how Americans age 16 and above typically get to work. Three out of four Americans (76.4 percent) report driving to work alone. Almost ten percent (9.4 percent) carpool, though this figure has actually declined significantly from a high of nearly 20 percent in 1980. Just 5.2 percent take mass transit, while 2.3 percent walk to work and less than one percent (0.6 percent) bike to work.1a910cbd1

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