One explanation for the phenomenon noted below.

From Yahoo Autos:

The average median-income household can no longer afford to purchase the “average-priced” new car or truck in 24 of the country’s 25 largest metro areas …

The average new vehicle now goes for $32,086, according to – which works out to a typical monthly payment of $633. While the number quoted by other tracking services vary slightly, there’s general agreement that prices are rising a good bit faster than the rate of inflation.


Car price


Nonetheless, there do seem to be contradictory things going on: an increase in the sales of new cars by some automakers (up as much as 15 percent recently), but a measured decline in vehicle kilometres travelled.  People may be replacing cars after delaying purchase post-recession, but still driving less.  Perhaps technology, transit and car-sharing are offering practical alternatives for some trips.   Clearly, young people are delaying getting a licence, and boomers are no longer as commuting as much.