Price and market trends: US motorists drive less, hitting SBR

06 January 2014 00:00 Source:ICIS Chemical Business

US motorists are driving less, especially younger people, and the trend is expected to continue limiting demand for replacement tyres and styrene butadiene rubber (SBR), a tyre producer said.

The producer said that annual miles driven in the US have been flat to slightly down since the 2008 recession. The comments were made on the sidelines of the 1st ICIS US Butadiene & Derivatives Conference in New York.

US driver Rex Features

Rex Features

Young people in the US are driving less

However, adjusted for population growth, miles driven in the US have fallen by almost 9% from their peak in 2005.

The producer said part of the reason is that the 35-54 age group – traditionally the group that drives the most – has been declining as a percentage of the population as they age.

The 16-34 age group has not picked up the slack, as the group’s driving rates fell by 23% from 2001-2009 on an adjusted basis, the biggest fall for any age group during that time.

The producer said the economic recession is the biggest factor driving that decline.

However, discretional spending competition has increased from consumer electronics and appliances, the tyre producer said.

Additionally, the producer said that more people in the younger age group are able to communicate via social media, which has lowered their need 
to drive.

By John Dietrich