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Is a car a necessity? Gen Y has a different outlook than previous generations.
Old 08-11-2012, 09:51 AM   #1
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Is a car a necessity? Gen Y has a different outlook than previous generations.

Wheels.ca – Generation Y threatens auto demand

There has been a 10% drop in the number of licenced drivers in the 20-24 age group. Now only 8 out of 10 people in that group drive---it was over 90% in the 80s. I remember the first time I had my licence at 16, what a thrill it was to have that independence! I couldn't imagine at that age...not wanting to have your driver's licence.
Of course lower wages and spiralling insurance costs make it unaffordable to many---so they choose the urban lifestyle and walk/take transit.

A car really is a discretionary thing if you have reliable public transit. It is not as convienient, true.

Right now I use my electric bike to get around town...no gas expenses and no big insurance cost. For me now a car not only is a discretionary item...but it is often a bit of a pain..trying to find parking etc.
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Old 08-11-2012, 10:53 AM   #2
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I think that is a wonderful trend, and kudos to those Gen Y folks who can and do manage this.

I want to join them sometime in the next 10 years. I absolutely refuse to be one of those crazy old biddies who continue driving way too long. No way am I going to end up mowing down a sidewalk full of pedestrians for some stupid, avoidable reason such as hitting the accelerator instead of the brakes, as so often happens.

As it is, I am only driving about 200 miles/month and a lot of that is just pleasure drives, to keep my skills refreshed. Otherwise I could probably only drive 80 miles/month or so.
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Old 08-11-2012, 10:55 AM   #3
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I'm not surprised younger people are trying to save money by not buying a car. A car is so expensive (and risky) to own, and depreciates so quickly - if you can possibly do without one, you can save quite a bit. A friend who lives in a semi-urban area, relies on Zipcar when she needs to get somewhere that doesn't have public transportation. She routinely visits relatives by train.

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Originally Posted by Frugalityisthenewblack View Post
Wheels.ca Generation Y threatens auto demand

There has been a 10% drop in the number of licenced drivers in the 20-24 age group. Now only 8 out of 10 people in that group drive---it was over 90% in the 80s. I remember the first time I had my licence at 16, what a thrill it was to have that independence! I couldn't imagine at that age...not wanting to have your driver's licence.
Of course lower wages and spiralling insurance costs make it unaffordable to many---so they choose the urban lifestyle and walk/take transit.

A car really is a discretionary thing if you have reliable public transit. It is not as convienient, true.

Right now I use my electric bike to get around town...no gas expenses and no big insurance cost. For me now a car not only is a discretionary item...but it is often a bit of a pain..trying to find parking etc.
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Old 08-11-2012, 11:18 AM   #4
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I absolutely refuse to be one of those crazy old biddies who continue driving way too long. No way am I going to end up mowing down a sidewalk full of pedestrians for some stupid, avoidable reason such as hitting the accelerator instead of the brakes, as so often happens.

As it is, I am only driving about 200 miles/month and a lot of that is just pleasure drives, to keep my skills refreshed. Otherwise I could probably only drive 80 miles/month or so.
About 20 years ago, there was an old guy who lived across the street. He very rarely left his house, but if ever there was a snowstorm, he would invariably be out driving his big Buick before the snowplow ever cleared the street. I have know idea where he went that he couldn't have gone when conditions were better. I think maybe he just wanted to prove that he still could.
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Old 08-11-2012, 11:20 AM   #5
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I got my first car at age 23. Until then I always lived in urban areas and never needed one. Now that I am back living in an urban setting, the car has once again become unnecessary. I still own one, but it is really an expensive luxury at this point. Using a Zipcar would probably be more economical (parking and insurance are both very expensive where I live). I only use my car to take short, out-of-town trips on the weekends (< 200 miles a month). Otherwise I walk and use public transportation.
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Old 08-11-2012, 11:24 AM   #6
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Back in the mid-90's, I had the fortunate experience to manage a group that was based in Lyon, France.

One of the folks that reported to me was a person who had three childen - the eldest in his early-mid 20's, going for his grad degree.

He had no license to drive a car, nor had any desire to do so. Being in a large city (with Metro/Bus service, along with his own bike) he felt he had no need to obtain a drivers license. His friends (who also attended Uni) felt the same way.

While his parents could not understand his "non-desire" to get a license, it was apparent to me that he had the facilities to become "free" without having one.

He did not have to worry about parking (most flats in Lyon had underground parking - at a preimum) nor did he have to worry about vehicle maintance costs, plus the cost of of the vehicle itself.

It seemed kind of strange (to me, and my co-worker, his parent) we both realized that it was another generation. If it met his needs (and he did not need a "back seat" for any "activities"), so be it.

While I didn't fully agree, I understood the situation, as it was...
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Old 08-11-2012, 11:24 AM   #7
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I hope that zipcar or competitors beef up their services. Right now, I only drive occasionally on the weekends, and if needed could go carfree, though I would miss out on one of my running groups, narrowing my friend-circle, and put the burden of visiting on my parents, which is not a good solution as they age.
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Old 08-11-2012, 11:36 AM   #8
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Back in the mid-90's, I had the fortunate experience to manage a group that was based in Lyon, France.

One of the folks that reported to me was a person who had three childen - the eldest in his early-mid 20's, going for his grad degree.

He had no license to drive a car, nor had any desire to do so. Being in a large city (with Metro/Bus service, along with his own bike) he felt he had no need to obtain a drivers license. His friends (who also attended Uni) felt the same way.

While his parents could not understand his "non-desire" to get a license, it was apparent to me that he had the facilities to become "free" without having one.

He did not have to worry about parking (most flats in Lyon had underground parking - at a preimum) nor did he have to worry about vehicle maintance costs, plus the cost of of the vehicle itself.

It seemed kind of strange (to me, and my co-worker, his parent) we both realized that it was another generation. If it met his needs (and he did not need a "back seat" for any "activities"), so be it.

While I didn't fully agree, I understood the situation, as it was...
I lived in Lyon for 5 years without a car and I totally understand why one would not want to own a car there. Public transportation inside the city is very efficient and since Lyon is a regional train hub, it offers convenient train service to lots of desirable destinations from Paris, to the Alps, to Provence. Owning a car there is more inconvenient than beneficial IMO.
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Old 08-11-2012, 11:53 AM   #9
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We didn't own a car until we'd moved to the burbs and needed a car to get to work - we were aged 22 and living in England.

Wind forward 25 years in the USA and DD and SIL also had no car until they moved out from the city center and worked at companies outside of the city center before they bought a car. They were aged 22 and 23.

Last year we lived in a small Yorkshire town for 7 months (pop. 25,000) and managed quite nicely without a car. The key, of course, is good public transportation.
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Old 08-11-2012, 11:53 AM   #10
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Public transportation inside the city is very efficient and since Lyon is a regional train hub, it offers convenient train service to lots of desirable destinations from Paris, to the Alps, to Provence. Owning a car there is more inconvenient than beneficial IMO.
Exactly. I took the TGV from CDG (Paris) on a monthly basis after I few in from the US (overnight), and delivered me to my hotel (currently the Raddison) in 2hr 10m - faster than an airplane (when accounting for the wait time and the taxi drive from the Lyon airport to my hotel, which was just a block away from the Part-Dieu station Gare de Lyon-Part-Dieu - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia).

DW/me also were based there when we took a local train over to Chamonix (Monc Blanc) on several vacation trips.

It's easy to get around France (and the rest of Europe) via train. Too bad the U.S. does not have the same network. Of course, we in the US put our "bet" on the auto after WWII; but that's another story...
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Old 08-11-2012, 12:18 PM   #11
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There has been an increase locally in moped accidents. Apparently more youngish people are unable or uninterested in getting a license to drive a car, and instead opting to go unlicensed and get a moped or scooter. I think anything 50cc and under doesn't require a license. Adding up the costs of an auto, license, insurance, taxes, etc and it takes up a big part of a minimum wage earner's salary. Bus service locally isn't great but isn't non-existent.
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Old 08-11-2012, 12:32 PM   #12
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About 20 years ago, there was an old guy who lived across the street. He very rarely left his house, but if ever there was a snowstorm, he would invariably be out driving his big Buick before the snowplow ever cleared the street. I have know idea where he went that he couldn't have gone when conditions were better. I think maybe he just wanted to prove that he still could.
Snowplow driver/operator?
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Old 08-11-2012, 12:34 PM   #13
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I would love to have a future in a neighborhood where I didn't need a car. Problem is I also want a neighborhood that isn't busy, crowded and noisy, so these desires are mutually exclusive...
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Old 08-11-2012, 12:36 PM   #14
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I would love to have a future in a neighborhood where I didn't need a car. Problem is I also want a neighborhood that isn't busy, crowded and noisy, so these desires are mutually exclusive...
I understand that old age homes are quiet - and you don't need transportaton.

I'm sure you can "grow" into this future lifestyle...
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Old 08-11-2012, 12:44 PM   #15
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Snowplow driver/operator?
He was far too old to be a snowplow driver.
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Old 08-11-2012, 12:47 PM   #16
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When many of us were young we wanted cars even if we lived in an urban area. A car was freedom, and a mobile bedroom.

Today's young people often do not have those constraints so cars are less necessary. Both my sons were ~20 when they started driving.

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Old 08-11-2012, 01:00 PM   #17
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There has been a 10% drop in the number of licenced drivers in the 20-24 age group. Now only 8 out of 10 people in that group drive---it was over 90% in the 80s. I remember the first time I had my licence at 16, what a thrill it was to have that independence! I couldn't imagine at that age...not wanting to have your driver's licence.
Of course lower wages and spiralling insurance costs make it unaffordable to many---so they choose the urban lifestyle and walk/take transit.
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There has been an increase locally in moped accidents. Apparently more youngish people are unable or uninterested in getting a license to drive a car, and instead opting to go unlicensed and get a moped or scooter. I think anything 50cc and under doesn't require a license. Adding up the costs of an auto, license, insurance, taxes, etc and it takes up a big part of a minimum wage earner's salary. Bus service locally isn't great but isn't non-existent.
I think another cause of the drop is Internet connectivity & social media. If you can hang out with your friends online, then why bother driving somewhere?

The requirements for my daughter to get a driver's license in Hawaii were far more harsh (and lengthy, and expensive) than the process I went through in Pennsylvania. It could be regional differences, but I bet it's safety & insurance requirements. I think that we're actively discouraging teens from getting driver's licenses, and that parents are being discouraged from ponying up the funds to do so.
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Old 08-11-2012, 02:21 PM   #18
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When someone gets his drivers license and when someone buys his own car are two different things. I got my license when I was 18 (which was older than many HS classmates I had at the time) and was driving around the family cars for several years until I bought my own car when I was nearly 23 after living in Manhattan for nearly a year after I graduated college. I got tired of living in Manhattan and wanted to own my own car and be able to get round more easily.
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Old 08-11-2012, 02:53 PM   #19
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I'd love to live somewhere we didn't need a car at all, but those places are rare and/or typically expensive, so it seems very unlikely for us. I like the Zipcar idea, but they're only in larger cities understandably. I hope we can at least go from two cars to one with our next move, relying on public trans, alternative trans (bike, scooter, EV, walking), Zipcar/rental cars. Baby steps...
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Old 08-11-2012, 03:56 PM   #20
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I'd love to live somewhere we didn't need a car at all, but those places are rare and/or typically expensive, so it seems very unlikely for us. I like the Zipcar idea, but they're only in larger cities understandably. I hope we can at least go from two cars to one with our next move, relying on public trans, alternative trans (bike, scooter, EV, walking), Zipcar/rental cars. Baby steps...
I love cars. I like to drive them just for the sake of driving and I like to tinker with them. We have three now and if we had more room, we might have more cars. I got my driver's license on my 16th birthday and I thought it very odd that my nephews did not.
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