Study: Americans scrapped more autos than they bought in 2009; Is this a trend?

The United States scrapped 14 million autos while buying only 10 million, according to a study by the Earth Policy Institute.

The United States scrapped 14 million autos while buying only 10 million, according to a study by the Earth Policy Institute.

As a result, the country's car fleet fell to 246 million in 2009 from a record high of 250 million in 2008. Lester Brown, president of the EPI, in a statement acknowledges that the recession is one big reason for the 2 percent auto fleet decline, but also argues that rising gas prices, urbanization, concerns about climate change and declining interest in cars are also forces cutting the car fleet in the U.S.

Brown's argument: Car usage in the U.S. is entering a period of long-term decline due to an increasingly urban population. Teenagers, Brown argues, socialize via the Internet and smartphones. Who needs to drive these days?

Brown makes interesting points, but it's a bit of a leap to say Americans are suddenly ditching their cars over gas prices, declining interest and the other factors he states.

Why? The Cash for Clunkers program may have skewed the scrap results for 2009.

However, Brown's also notes that the car market is saturated with five cars for every four drivers. In any case, Brown in a statement makes it sound like the auto is going the way of the Dodo bird. Far more interesting is just to roll the data from the EPI. Here a look at the EPI data underlying its report:

Do you believe the argument that Americans are losing interest in cars?

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com