More reliable cars means more driving?

Messages
15,080
Location
Canada
This may seem like an 'obvious answer' question, but I'm curious about the experience/opinion of members here. Over the years, car have become more reliable, and require far less maintenance than they used to. I'm wondering how much this factor, apart from others, has affected how much people drive. If cars have to have more adjusting/wrenching done on them, then that's obviuosly time they can't be driving. Cars today can pretty well be driven 100k miles w/o much more than a few 15-minute oil changes, 1-2 tire replacements, and maybe a brake job. There are some people who have always driven a lot, whether for work or otherwise, so they just had to spend more time wrenching on their cars. But I wonder how many people 'limited' their driving b/c wrenching on the cars consumed time and money, and as they have had to do less wrenching, they have driven more? Thoughts?
 
Messages
3,058
Location
Columbus, Ohio
I am utterly stunned at how many miles people put on cars these days. I have been looking at used pickups...I see 4-5 year old vehicles with 200,000 miles on them! Unbelieveable. John
 
Messages
2,759
Location
CarMax
This would be an interesting college thesis paper. I'm sure vehicle reliability has something to do with more driving, but lifestyle, employment and housing issues might affect it more. Fact is metro areas have expanded greatly, people live further away from jobs, schools, shopping and family, public transportation is inadequate in most metro areas and everyone wants the freedom of driving their own car whereever they want to. There is probably some cause and effect here; people drive more because cars are more reliable, they feel more confident living and working further apart, they buy more reliable cars because they live far from work so they're forced to drive more anyway, and on and on.
 
Messages
824
Location
San Jose area, CA
Actually this is an interesting subject/topic. Since you write from CN, you could research the CN data, as you probably would be more interesting in CN's issues. (Thanks to CN for all the FOREIGN oil you all send) However in the USA market, the AVERAGE driver puts on 12,000 to 15,000 miles yearly, pre economic holocast. \:\( Circa holocast, that is est to be -3.8% or -456 to -570 miles per year/12-38 to -47.5 miles per month. We also have 255.7 M registered passenger vehicles= fleet. page 40, http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/811034.PDF . You can of course divide the TOTAL est mileage by car, licensed driver, population, passenger vehicle population, etc., etc. So for example the Honda Civic (considered in the US markets as one of the premier economy and reliable cars) is a subset of a minority population (less than 25#) compact cars.
 
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 Originally Posted By: John_K
I am utterly stunned at how many miles people put on cars these days. I have been looking at used pickups...I see 4-5 year old vehicles with 200,000 miles on them! Unbelieveable. John
I know what you mean. Are are all of these trade-ins driven by Kirby Vacuum salesman?
 
Messages
1,805
Location
Saint Paul (ex-San Diego)
 Originally Posted By: ruking77
However in the USA market, the AVERAGE driver puts on 12,000 to 15,000 miles yearly, pre economic holocast..... We also have 255.7 M registered passenger vehicles... You can of course divide the TOTAL est mileage by car, licensed driver, population, passenger vehicle population, etc., etc.
I wonder where the 12k-15k miles number comes from, because it seems artificial and probably wrong. From the Dept of Transportation: total miles driven in 2008, 2,656.2 billion. So that would be about 10,400 miles per registered vehicle. But some vehicles are barely driven at all -- we have heard from folks who wonder whether they should change their oil each year, if they have driven less than 3000 miles. And the number of licensed drivers is considerably fewer than the number of registered vehicles -- I don't think we try to put an equal number of miles on each of our vehicles, some get driven more than others. The car used for commuting accumulates more miles than the truck used to tow the boat or camperr.
 
Messages
12,385
Location
Northern CA
 Originally Posted By: John_K
I am utterly stunned at how many miles people put on cars these days. I have been looking at used pickups...I see 4-5 year old vehicles with 200,000 miles on them! Unbelieveable. John
To steal someone else's line, "The plural of anecdote is not data."
 
Messages
3,392
Location
Raleigh ,NC
Another result of this is I know people who have cars that have loads of miles on them very reliable but they're worth next to nothing. I have a 1995 Plymouth van in my drive way. Worth very little amazingly reliable, 187,000 miles. It gets driven rarely.I was waiting for the engine or trans to go in it. Never happened so I just got tired of driving it.
 
Messages
9,741
Location
Ontario, Canada
I think there are way more people now willing to have longer commutes than in the past. Partially because cars are cheaper to run these days, and partially because incomes haven't kept up with property values in most cities. So to get your patch of grass you have to go farther away. I've also noticed that are a subset of pickups that have huge miles on them here too. I think they must be someones work truck otherwise its pretty expensive to turn your $30k+ truck into a $8k truck in 4 years plus all the gas...
 
Messages
17,349
Location
Silicon Valley
I'd say it is the other way around: lifestyle changes and living further away means more driving, and more driving increase people's expectation on the reliability. But the main point is fuel economy, without it the lifestyle won't increase driving.
 
Messages
36,465
Location
ME
Last year my brother-in-law commuted from Maine to Boston every weekday to do general contracting/ construction. Put 65K + miles on a 40 MPG saturn SL1 in addition to driving his boss' trucks etc. It's where the money is/was. He also carpooled sometimes. It seemed he was doing work on the car every month or two but then looking at the mileage... jeez... spark plugs and tires every 6 months wouldn't be extraordinary. It would be interesting to draw a map with "isobars" of median income (or cost of service or real estate); I bet many commuters cross those isobars perpindicularly like wind on a storm front. I'm apparantly in the minority who wouldn't mind a corner bodega-sized convenience store/bar on every other street corner in a residential neighboorhood. Would save a lot of gas on quick shopping trips and you could walk home from a night of drinking.
 
Messages
1,048
Location
Sunny Calif
 Originally Posted By: Tornado Red
 Originally Posted By: ruking77
However in the USA market, the AVERAGE driver puts on 12,000 to 15,000 miles yearly, pre economic holocast..... We also have 255.7 M registered passenger vehicles... You can of course divide the TOTAL est mileage by car, licensed driver, population, passenger vehicle population, etc., etc.
I wonder where the 12k-15k miles number comes from, because it seems artificial and probably wrong. From the Dept of Transportation: total miles driven in 2008, 2,656.2 billion. So that would be about 10,400 miles per registered vehicle. And the number of licensed drivers is considerably fewer than the number of registered vehicles
Well , if there are more registered vehicles than drivers, it means the average mileage per driver is higher than the average mileage per vehicle. So if each vehicle is driven 10,400mi per year I would expect each driver to drive more than 10,400mi per year on average since some people split their mileage between mutiple cars.
 
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