Plantagenet wrote:Yes, they are very interesting numbers. But you have to be careful when dealing with numbers to see exactly what the inputs are.

I am questioning whether these numbers represent the "average" trip for all shopping or just the average trip for those shoppers who go by car?

In other words, you are claiming these numbers represent the "average" for all shoppers, but I am wondering if they only apply to those people who own cars.

There are millions and millions of people who live in cities who don't own cars. For instance, I lived in New York City for four years and I didn't own a car. I did all my shopping by walking, biking, or taking mass transit. My average car miles per shopping trip was ZERO. Same thing when I lived in Europe. Average car miles per shopping trip was ZERO. And its the same thing for millions of other people in urban settings. Average car miles per shopping trip is ZERO.

THis population of millions of people who average ZERO car miles per shopping trip isn't being capture in a bar plot that only shows average cars for people who use cars.

Get it now?

AND, I also question the claim that people average 6.5 miles per shopping trips for an average of 4620 miles of shopping trips per years. Lets look at the math here....if people actually do travel 6.5 miles per trip for an average of 4620 miles per year, that means the average shopper is making 711 shopping trips each year....or about 2 per day every day of the year.

I don't know about you, but that seems absurd to me. I don't know anyone who takes 2 shopping trips per day every day of the year. Is it possible there is a problem with the math you are presenting? Do yo personally take 2 shopping trips every day of the year? What gives?

As I keep saying, you have to look at averages, not you and the people you know. And the national average is not 0, not 1, but 2 cars per household. So yes there are many households that don't have cars. And then there are many households that have 3 or 4 cars. However it all averages out to 2 cars per household.

As for the miles/trips traveled it is household data, not per person data. With an average household size of 3, you would have to divide the trips by 3 to get per person data. Even then, I was also surprised by the high number. However I have confirmed it with multiple sources. This country really is addicted to shopping. Here are additional sources I used for confirmation:

There is little disagreement that shopping comprises a significant portion of our lives. And to some extent, this is entirely expected—to live is to consume. However, in most developed nations, shopping has long since passed the role of necessity and has entered the realm of sport. Our fascination with shopping and consumption has produced many harmful effects on our lives (debt, stress, and busyness). And yet, it continues. Unfortunately, to a degree that few us even realize.

Based on a variety of studies and research methods, here are 17 staggering statistics that articulate our current passion and obsession for shopping:

1. The average woman makes 301 trips to the store annually, spending close to 400 hours a year shopping.

2. Americans spend more on shoes, jewelry, and watches ($100 billion) than on higher education

3. Shopping malls outnumber high schools in America.

6. An estimated two-thirds of the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) comes from retail consumption.

9. When asked about hobbies, girls (age 13-18) identified shopping as their favorite pastime.

10. And 96% of adults and 95% of teens admit they participate in some form of retail therapy.

11. More than a third of adults and teens said shopping made them feel better than working out.

12. The average American throws away 65 pounds of clothing per year.

The numbers paint a jarring picture of excessive shopping and unnecessary consumption.

17 Staggering Statistics About Our Shopping HabitsHOW WE TRAVEL

87 percent of daily trips take place in personal vehicles

HOW MANY TRIPS WE TAKE EVERY DAY

Americans take 1.1 billion trips a day — four for every person in the U.S

U.S. daily travel averages 11 billion miles a day — almost 40 miles per person per day

HOW MANY TRIPS WE TAKE IN A YEAR

Americans take 411 billion daily trips a year or about 1,500 trips per person

U.S. daily travel totals about 4 trillion miles — 14,500 miles per person

WHY WE TRAVEL

45 percent of daily trips are taken for shopping and errands

15 percent of daily trips are taken for commuting

THE AVERAGE DRIVER

Spends 55 minutes a day behind the wheel

Drives 29 miles a day

National Household Travel Survey Daily Travel Quick FactsThe above source gives about the same miles traveled daily for shopping. They give 29 miles for the amount the average driver drives daily. They also give 45% of driving is done for shopping and errands, or 13 miles per day. A little less than half of that is shopping, or 6.1 miles per day. Surprising isn't it?

The oil barrel is half-full.