The average American makes 1.5 trips to the grocery store a week, spending an average 53 hours a year roaming the aisles. A British survey that studied in detail the reasons for car ownership—and second- and third-car ownership—found high on the list was the need to haul otherwise unmanageable grocery loads from store to home. Some 65% said grocery shopping would be “quite” or “very” difficult without a car.
In the U.S., an even more suburban and exurban society, the same is undoubtedly true. Trips to the grocery store are second only to physically transporting oneself to school or work as a reason for car ownership, and not as easily replaced. Traveling to school or work, after all, usually doesn’t involve dragging along 70 pounds of irregular small items in awkward bundles.
The British study found that even 23% of non-car owners used a car for grocery shopping, suggesting they borrowed a relative’s or neighbor’s vehicle.