Over at bloomberg.com, Justin Fox wrote a fascinating article that examined the amount of driving done within the United States since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and wonders if these numbers might indicate we’ve peaked in terms of driving out:
Americans are driving less than before the pandemic, and it might be permanent
Now, before you ask: There is no implication that driving is done.
But there are indicators that maybe we’ve (as I said above) peaked in terms of driving and that even when we get over the COVID-19 situation things might remains roughly as they are, with driving patterns dropping some 10% or so versus what they were before the pandemic.
For one, it appears many jobs may move from offices to employees’ homes.
This is logical: Many things can be accomplished on a computer and if there’s one thing the pandemic has revealed is that you don’t have to go to the office to do certain work. It is possible there will be many jobs which will require an employee show up to the office perhaps once a week or so versus 5 days a week. Hence, less driving.
The second big takeaway is that online services such as restaurants or Amazon or grocery stores, etc. etc. are delivering more and more products directly to people’s homes.
When people do this, while there are trucks and cars on the roads doing the delivery, it winds up being many less cars on the road as one delivery truck might mean the elimination of several individuals and their cars on the road. One UPS truck, for example, filled with product might well eliminate the need for dozens of households to go out and look for any particular product!
Again, no one is claiming the days of the automobile are done, only that because of work at home and delivery of product, it may be curtailed for the long run.