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The years to come might bring a new and totally unexpected change of the cultural paradigm for the United States. Americans are saying “no” to automobiles. That’s right, the unthinkable. According to a study released in January by the Earth Policy Institute (EPI) published in Aftermarket Business, the fleet was reduced by 4 million cars. The amount of vehicles scrapped during 2009 was higher than new purchases – the first time since World War II.

Of course, the key reason shrinking of the U.S. vehicle fleet is the bad shape of the economy. But there are other things going on – the volatility of oil prices, the urbanization of the country, and, surprise, a youth-based rejection to cars. According to the study, it’s not only a financial issue, but also a social trend. In urban environments, the young have stopped seeing cars as a fundamental means of socialization. Local authorities have also increased the restrictions on car use.