I am on a flight to Houston as I write this. I travel for work every month or two, to rail yards all over the country. Several years ago I went to Ottowa, Illinois, and while driving through the town I suddenly realized that nearly every car was a domestic make. While waiting at a light I counted 18 domestics and just 2 or 3 Asia-branded cars, and nothing European. That’s quite different than what I am used to in San Diego; now I always pay attention to the cars around me when I travel, and the makeup of the local fleet is indeed quite different in different towns.
It turns out that Google Street View is a great way to investigate this phenomenon. One day I got curious (bored?) and decided to do a little unscientific analysis. I chose three suburban towns, each about 25 miles from a city center: Poway, California (my current hometown of 11 years, just outside San Diego); East Goshen Township, Pennsylvania (my childhood hometown, near Philadelphia); and Arlington, Texas (between Dallas and Fort Worth).
In each town I chose one residential street about a mile long. I didn’t dig into the exact demographics, but I tried to find middle class working family neighborhoods. I “drove” each street in Street View and tabulated the cars I could see by type of vehicle (sedan, coupe/hatch, sports, luxury, SUV/CUV, station wagon, pickup or full-sized van), and by brand nationality (American, Japanese, Korean, German, other (mostly Swedish and British)). (I didn’t go by factory location, as that would have made it a hugely more complex analysis.)
The results were not terribly surprising -Texas was heavy with domestic pickups, and California had the most German cars -but are interesting nonetheless.
One variable I did not evaluate was the age of the cars. (Presumably the cars of Eugene would have among the oldest average age.) So, what does the fleet in you neck of the woods look like? And does anyone want to take a stab at doing the analysis by age, or by make?