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Nance Harris

Interesting to read LERN's predictions - please refrain from using this as a left-wing political platform, many of us want the continuing education information you do such a good job on, but not your biased opinions - Don't want our dues supporting poisitions we oppose - LERN has excellent institutes, stick with what you do well really well.

Transportation Factoring

The tale and content suggest this is a variety of both the economy and the generational move that is been mentioned here, with the former strengthening the latter.

D. P. Lubic

In other news, an opinion on the outlook for car sales. It’s optimistic, but I have to wonder about the reason for it. Cars sales could rebound considerably in the next few years if the economy improves–there certainly is a pent-up demand for replacements, and the vehicle fleet is as old as it’s ever been–but if I were in the car business, I would be worried about that second graph on Page 13, Licensed Drivers (% of total driving age population).

http://www2.briefing.com/Marketing/includes/state-of-the-us-motor-vehicle-industry-2012.pdf

More on the car population, particularly the age of vehicles:

http://www.thedetroitbureau.com/2012/01/u-s-auto-fleet-older-than-ever/

Key points of interest: The overall size of the auto fleet has largely recovered to near pre-recession levels; fleet size is only 1/2% off from the beginning of the recession (it was down a good deal lower at one point), and I think this is due to a slightly improving economy and pent-up demand for replacement cars. However, the same article notes that younger people are delaying getting licenses, that this has been going on for some time, and the real test will be if the level of cars on the road increases past the record of 242 million cars on the road in 2008.

Finally, some other commentary on auto sales, this time looking at factors that could be important in auto stock investments:

http://seekingalpha.com/article/605651-why-u-s-auto-sales-are-still-too-low

I can't help but wonder if we are looking at some form of denialism here--and also hope that somehow we aren't wrong. . .

D. P. Lubic

Oh, the original "Car Talk" link you had didn't work (something about the article wasn't available there), but this one did for me;

http://www.sfgate.com/entertainment/carroll/article/Farewell-sort-of-to-the-Car-Talk-guys-3631058.php

D. P. Lubic

Drat!!Ignore the reference to a John Natchigall, that's because I originally had this at the California high speed rail site, and he's one of those guys who says the market should rule at all times.

Of course, we are getting market signals--but there is still an awful lot of denial going on.

D. P. Lubic

Looks like we have a leader in the change in Portland, Maine, originally linked through Walk Around Portland:

http://walkaroundportland.blogspot.com/

The article in question from the Portland [Me.] Press Herald:

http://www.pressherald.com/news/portland-at-forefront-of-decline-in-car-ownership.html

What’s most fascinating is the steep decline in autos registered in Portland, from 43,872 vehicles in 2004 to 38,179 in 2011–a 23% drop in only 8 years! The story and the comments suggest this is a combination of both the economic situation and the generational shift that’s been discussed here, with the former reinforcing the latter.

Other commentary on this same piece:

http://rightsofway.blogspot.com/2012/07/press-herald-portland-car-registrations.html

http://www.city-data.com/forum/maine/1649075-portland-leading-decline-car-ownership.html

This brings up a question, and one that John Natchigall would approve of. At some point, if this is the generational shift we think is taking place, and if things aren’t sandbagged with car subsidies as they have been for generations, there will be a time when it will be possible to run a rail passenger services at all levels–local streetcar, interurban, regional rail, and HSR–at a true profit. The question becomes, when will this be so? Will it be caused by several more spikes in gas prices and other things, making driving unaffordable for all but the most well-to-do? Will it require the passage of more time, and waiting for enough of the big-driving generation to pass away so they (a) no longer oppose rail because they’re retired or dead, or (b) by virtue of being retired or dead, are no longer supporting the road system because they’re not driving for one reason or another, and the road system really falls apart? Will it be a combination of these two factors? What will the actual numbers look like when this happens–say, the price of gasoline, or the percentage of the pro-driving crowd in the general population?

D. P. Lubic

Where do these crazy comments come from? How do they get past the filter you use?

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