By Joe Mathieu, WBZ NewsRadio 1030

BOSTON (CBS) — It’s a remarkable headline in a country that invented the automobile and built a whole culture and economy around it.

The University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute is out with a report on Americans’ love affair with the car and things appear to be cooling off.

Researchers found an increase in the number of households that do not own a car, light truck or SUV – it hit 9.2-percent in 2012, up from 8.7-percent five years earlier.

And as you might expect this is a trend that starts in the city. Urban areas like Boston, where the biggest numbers of people live without their own cars for obvious reasons.

In some of the biggest cities the number tops 30-percent and yes Boston is one of them. Our city trails only New York and Washington, DC, for the number of people who do not own a vehicle.

Researchers cannot point to any number of causes, from gas prices to the environment. But they seem to think the economy is an overriding factor – households giving-up the second or third car and more people without jobs who can’t afford the first one – suggesting we may fall back in love with automobiles as the economy recovers.

You can follow Joe on Twitter @joemathieuwbz


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