Why Millennials Don’t Care About Owning Car

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Why Millennials Don’t Care About Owning Cars

Over a century has passed since the automobile sprang forth from the Industrial Revolution, ushering in a new motorized age of independence and convenience. A love affair between man and machine was quickly born … but there are signs millennials might be ending the relationship. Cars just aren’t a big deal for many in this age group of 18 to 34. A third don’t own one. Let’s look at why Millennials don’t care about owing cars.

Signalling a Lane Change

Baby Boomers embraced car ownership like a mania, but millennials are not following their example. For the first time since Australian car sales began, the number of young adult driver’s licenses has begun to decrease. Approvals have dropped 10% since 2001 in Victoria and South Wales.

It’s not just Aussie youth, car ownership is dropping across the world. Declines in millennial car ownership are recorded in 13 countries, including the US, UK, Canada, Japan and Europe.

A Multifaceted Trend

As we look for reasons, keep in mind that variations exist within any age category. The location also has an effect on car adoption: different auto types are popular in each state according to economics, climate, and infrastructure. Millennials may also be riding a larger wave, considering that average kilometres driven has declined across the entire population over the past decade.

Environmental Concerns

Increased awareness among millennials about the impact of cars on the environment may be a factor, but it’s not universal. While sustainable fuels and equipment are becoming more popular, it’s happening across all age groups. Millennials type on phones with the rest of us while environmental damage proceeds apace. Some young people are choosing sustainability, but that’s not the whole story.

Increased Restrictions and Red Tape

One of the trade-offs for public safety is increased regulation, and over the years more demands have been made for obtaining a license. Even so, this hurdle is likely not keeping millennials off the road: the licensing decline was recorded years before the new requirements were established.

High Cost / Taxes / fees

Car ownership is costly. From dealerships and registration fees to insurance, fees, and parking, a vehicle is an ongoing financial drain. With recent tuition hikes and inflated housing costs, oncoming generations have financial obstacles that Boomers never did. Cars may not represent freedom for millennials, but a financial trap.

Public transportation

Improved public transportation is cited for reduced car ownership, and for some areas, this is surely a factor. Yet in others, like most of America, public transit investment has long been grudging and piecemeal, and yet there are similar millennial declines.


There’s a difference between the open new highways of yesteryear and the situation today. As roads expand they bring congestion, not relief. Infrastructure planning and investment have not kept up with population, to the point, many young people find it quicker to ride a bike.

Societal Change

Millennials reflect a change in culture. Boomers raced from school into career and family on a schedule established for earlier lifespans. Millennials meet these milestones later, perhaps including a car.

Car sharing illustrates the shift. The allure of the car held for Boomers may not exist in a younger generation whose experience is one of being harassed by the industry—on many levels. Cars may not offer them the “feel-good” premium of ownership.

“Make way for the Future!”

There was a great corporate outcry for progress in the heady days of early motoring. It’s not heard much anymore, but the future is still coming.

Our shopping centres and schools and various lifestyle amenities are centred around cars, but the system wastes great energy and resources in daily gridlock. The modern era is hooked to an unsustainable system.

It might be good the younger generation is figuring this out. Auto primacy may turn out to be the anomaly: a needed change may be happening, for many reasons.

Bob Gorman

Bob Gorman is a freelance writer who likes writing articles that cover home and family-related topics. He has written numerous articles and contributed to several other blogs.

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