The End of the Automobile Era?
Are Americans as car crazy as they were in the '70s? There's growing evidence that young people, for one, are less enamored of driving than their parents were.
In 1976, three-quarters of all 17-year-olds had drivers' licenses. By 2008, that was down to 49 percent. ... The shift in mood partly reflects worries about the environment and the price of gas. But there also seems to be a technological aspect, too. Once upon a time, newly licensed teens would pile all their friends into their new used car and drive around aimlessly. Nowadays, teens can socialize via Facebook or texting instead—in a recent survey, over half of all young adults said they'd rather chat online than drive to meet their friends.