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Number of vehicles fell in U.S. last year

Posted On Mon, January 11, 2010

One factor that benefits auto insurance customers is if they live in a rural area that has fewer drivers, and in turn, fewer accidents and claims in general.

Now, a recent report by a national environmental group is suggesting that a trend could be underway that impacts the price people across the country pay for their auto insurance.

According to the Earth Policy Institute, the U.S. car fleet shrank by about 2 percent in 2009, with 14 million vehicles scrapped last year compared to 10 million that were sold. This was said to be the first time since the World War II era that the number of overall vehicles in the nation fell, with sales having ranged between 15 million and 17 million in recent years.

The group suggested that an increasingly urban population, an unstable economy and higher fuel prices contributed to the situation.

Auto insurance rates have already benefited from trends like a significant decline in the theft rate and in fatal accidents. However, the declining number of vehicles is unlikely to have a serious effect on rates in the short term, with 246 million vehicles still in the country for 209 million registered drivers.

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