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Why America stopped driving



  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 38,950
    lol, tried to clean up the text before my nap. Ah well..., can you skip the "born" part?
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 38,950
    edited February 12
    "Generation Y consumers 'born approximately between 1979 and 1995' aren't buying cars. The reasons range from a weak economy to environmental concerns to the proliferation of car-sharing companies like Zipcar.

    People under 35 accounted for 24.4 percent of car acquisitions in 2001, but that number dropped to 12.7 percent in 2010, according to a J.D. Power and Associates and AARP study reported in Adweek in 2010."

    Car dealerships struggle to lure Gen Y consumers (Detroit News)
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 38,950
    "A vehicle is really a discretionary purchase and a secondary need versus an iPhone, mobile phone or personal computer," Vitale said.

    Jordan Wesolek, a Blue Man Group front-office worker from Chicago, said he pays $300 a year for Internet service and is saving his extra cash for a $2,199 MacBook Pro laptop from Apple Inc.

    'Not There'

    The 23-year-old sound tech, who rides his fixed-gear bike to work, said he isn't thinking about buying a car anytime soon.

    "Right now, I couldn't do it," said Wesolek, who recently invested almost $500 for a new wheel and other parts to refurbish a bike he originally bought for $120. "And the desire to own a car is just not there."

    4G Internet more important to Gen Y than V-8 cars (Detroit News)
  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 7,600
    Ahhh - Hipsters.

    They spend big money on fixies by not buying deodorant nor razor blades and drinking PBR.
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 38,950
    Ohh, that reminds me my commuter slicks for the mountain bike arrive today. :shades:
  • fintailfintail Posts: 32,909
    I was going to say, apple toting hipsters might not represent the demographic in general. Not to mention the whole hipster ideal is often one of feigned poverty.
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 38,950
    edited January 9

    Here's another in the kids don't drive anymore category.

    "You can blame the economy, social media, the labor market or new laws, but one thing is clear: young drivers aren’t flocking to the car market.

    “The financial crisis hit the younger generations the hardest and now a lot of these people don’t have the financial wherewithal to get credit to get a car,” says Lacey Plache, chief economist for “They don’t have jobs or an apartment, so right now, many of them don’t have the need for a car.”

    Our old friend Karl notes “The increase of social media activity makes it less necessary for teens to get into a car to hang out and talk,” says Brauer. “They can now see their friends on their phone and computer screens.”

    Junior Isn’t Driving and Millennials Aren't Buying, What Gives? (

  • dooberguydooberguy Posts: 9

    Just speaking from personal experience here I think the statistics are misleading. I'm in my mid-twenties and all of my friends and coworkers my age have cars. ALL of them. The statistics might be misled because of how many of us either buy or are given second hand cars from family members. Two of my close friends have purchased used cars from dealers, but all the rest have been private party transactions or gifts from family.

  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 38,950

    Good to hear some of you twenty-somethings are keeping us in business. :-)

    Lots of the stats likely come from state registration information, not just dealer or private sales. And it'd be interesting to know if your group is all working and if you are in an urban area or a place a bit more spread out. Some place like Dallas would be a lot harder to get around in than Seattle without wheels.

    Oh yeah, you've been talking to Kirstie about car seats - wheels will really come in handy with a kiddo on the way.

    Sales numbers from the rest of this next year should shed some light on whether the nice sales numbers of 2013 were a blip or if the driving trend is back in the groove as the economy seems to be improving.

  • I'm from LA so public transit here isn't really an option. Fortunately my friends have all found work, not great work, but we all have work which is a blessing. And yes, the impending arrival of my first kid has me looking into cars seriously for the first time. Every car I've ever driven has been a hand-me-down from family so I'm hitting the forums looking for advice. Just thought I'd comment on this article because I think my generation gets misrepresented at times. We love cars, watch BBC Top Gear all the time. We just can't afford the nice cars yet, give us time.

  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 38,950

    Cool. I have a "step niece-in-law" out in San Diego who's 18, senior in high school. Her folks had to force her to get her license as they got tired of schlepping her around. She seems to mostly tolerate driving. Most all the kids in my rural area drive (but there's not many kids in my area).

  • I think young women have a less intense desire for a license than young men, but I don't think that's a new phenomenon. My little sister was very excited for her license at least.

  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 38,950

    Yeah, I think you're right.The other similar one I know was a HS grad here who also had to be "encouraged" to get her license when she went off to school a couple of hours away.

    My older sister got her license right away back in the 60s and has owned three times as many cars as I have, including a Firebird and a MG-B. Can only assume she bribed DMV though; she's still a lousy driver. I think she wrecked half of her cars.

  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 38,950

    "Younger drivers are eager to own cars and, according to a new study by Enterprise Holdings, they use rental cars to check out the latest models and features.

    "Millennial respondents were particularly influenced by the rental experience, indicating that car rental is one of the best ways to introduce an automotive brand to the next generation of new car buyers," said Kurt Kohler, senior vice president of acquisition and remarketing for Enterprise Holdings, in a statement."

    Millennials Use Car Rentals as Extended Test-Drives

  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 38,950

    "The most shocking thing about this driving decline is that it doesn’t seem to be caused by the weak economy.

    Gas prices are lower today than they were six and a half years ago. And average fuel efficiency has surged over the last decade, putting the real cost of gasoline usage today no higher than it was a decade ago.

    The most important group of drivers are those age 35 to 54. They’re in their prime working years, driving an average of 15,291 miles per year, according to the Department of Transportation. But driving falls off quickly as people move into retirement. Americans age 55 to 64 drive fewer than 12,000 miles per year, on average. And Americans age 65 and older drive an average of only 7,650 miles per year — half what they drove in their prime working years."

    Why America stopped driving (Detroit Free Press)

  • berriberri Posts: 4,000

    I dunno - we appear to have a lower portion of people actively working full time now than for many years. Unemployment figures can be misleading because it doesn't account for long term unemployed or dropouts.

  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,388

    I have 2 nieces and a nephew who are the Gen Xers. The two who now reside in Manhattan are carless and seem quite content to be so. My niece who lives in downtown Baltimore could probably do without her own wheels but she likes her Toyota Yaris. I think the other two will acquire cars once they move out of Manhattan where public transit are less useful. I know my nephew avails himself of Zipcar whenever he needs a car which isn't that often.

    For a whole bunch of reasons Gen Xers and Millenials just don't look at cars the way we do but if it means less traffic, I guess that's fine.

  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 38,950

    Don't forget that Gen Xers are getting a bit long in the tooth. Obama is a Gen Xer, depending on whose definition you use. Elon Musk definitely is. He's sort of a car guy. :)

  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 38,950
    edited February 19

    And it's not just Americans.

    "Excellent public transport, high fuel prices and a strong environmental movement mean that for many Germans the car has become an expendable accessory, or at worst an expensive liability.

    New vehicle registrations fell below 3 million last year, continuing a two-decade decline. Meanwhile, the average age of buyers rose above 52 for the first time, compared with an average age of 46 in the mid-1990s."

    As German car sales drop, industry bets on sharing (Detroit Free Press)

  • fintailfintail Posts: 32,909

    Who's definition is that? Barry was born in 1961, definitely not an Xer. Musk on the other hand, born in 1971, is.

    Regarding Germany - a nation with insanely developed and reliable public transit that most Americans couldn't fathom (some places still believe in social goods), along with high running costs (strict inspections, etc). Also lots of scooters and ATVs etc that can be ridden and parked anywhere. Small cars are often seen as something for retirees, rather than new drivers.

    And regarding "stopped driving" - it sure doesn't seem that way in my neck of the woods.

    @Stever@Edmunds said: Don't forget that Gen Xers are getting a bit long in the tooth. Obama is a Gen Xer, depending on whose definition you use. Elon Musk definitely is. He's sort of a car guy. :)

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