Although traffic seems unaffected

There are four million fewer motor vehicles on American roads than there were this time last year:

The United States scrapped 14 million autos while buying only 10 million last year, shrinking the country’s car and light duty truck fleet to 246 million from a record high of 250 million, according to the report to be released on Wednesday by nonprofit group the Earth Policy Institute.

About 700,000 vehicles were scrapped through the government’s Cash for Clunkers program, though there was no effect on the total number of cars in the fleet because each one was replaced by a newer model.

EPI, of course, is hailing this as The Dawn of a New Age:

The United States, the world’s biggest petroleum user, “is entering a new era, evolving from a car-dominated transport system to one that is much more diversified,” said Lester Brown, the president of the EPI.

Well, more diversified, anyway. And with sales not expected to rebound much in 2010, we might be able to see a repeat of this post in early 2011.

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