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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

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Old 03-27-14, 11:41 AM   #1
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Millennials Don't Care About Owning Cars; Car Makers Can't Figure Out Why

"With recent studies showing a huge decline in auto sales among the millennial marketplace, itís no wonder auto manufacturers are in a mild state of panic, realizing theyíre missing out on a generation that wields $200 billion in purchasing power. Numbers donít lie, and over the last few years statistics have shown a significant drop in young people who own cars, as well as those with driverís licenses--and that decline continues among the youngest millennials, meaning this is not a trend thatís going away anytime soon. From 2007 to 2011, the number of cars purchased by people aged 18 to 34, fell almost 30%, and according to a study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, only 44% of teens obtain a driverís license within the first year of becoming eligible and just half, 54% are licensed before turning 18. This is a major break with the past, considering how most teens of the two previous generations would race to the DMV for their license or permit on the day of their 16th birthday."

Read the full article: Millennials Don't Care About Owning Cars, And Car Makers Can't Figure Out Why | Co.Exist | ideas + impact
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Old 03-27-14, 11:47 AM   #2
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I have two stepsons in their early 20's and only one had a driver's license... he needs to drive as part of his job while his older brother uses transit and cycles a good distance to work.

My oldest daughter is 16 and has no interest in getting a driver's license, her younger sister could get her learner's permit but is also not interested.... they too use transit and cycle and we do have a car that gets used sparingly.
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Old 03-27-14, 01:17 PM   #3
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For me, it's a combination of things.

I fantasized about owning my own car when I was a kid, but as I grew older and realized how expensive it was to buy one, constantly paying for car repairs, taxes and insurance (and being on the road with reckless, impatient, speeding drivers who cause fatal accidents all the time, several times a day in the city), I changed my mind. I feel safer riding a bike and walking.

When I drive a car, I fear I'll be killed by another driver; I don't have confidence in my ability to drive a car (they feel too big, to me, and I worry that I might accidently hit a parked vehicle -especially its sideview mirror- as I'm passing them on the road, or trying to park in a parking space (because, in the driver's seat, I can't physically see for myself how close the car I'm driving is to another vehicle- I'm used to seeing this from the passenger's seat.) So, I don't feel I can judge distance accurately when I'm in the driver's seat.

Lastly, as the world's population increases, and more people drive cars, contributing to global warming and unhealthy air-quality, I like the idea of reducing my carbon footprint, helping keep harmful, smog particles out of the atmosphere (although I imagine I'll eventually have to have a car in the future).
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Old 03-27-14, 01:31 PM   #4
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Dependence on cars is becoming an old person thing. The more this becomes the case, the fewer young people (or people who see themselves as young or who want to be seen as young) will drive. It's nice to see a positive feedback loop that is truly positive.

As usual, I'm out of place as an old person who sees himself as old but still refuses to be dependent on a car.
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Old 03-27-14, 02:42 PM   #5
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Baby boomers love their cars. They grew up in the 50s and 60s, when cars were so part of their identity. They wanted to be "cool" so bad and cars were a sign of who you were. The bigger, the better. Low mpg was a badge of honor, it was how muscle-y your muscle car was. As a gen-xer myself, cars were a means to an end, more utility than identity. But we still grew up in a time of cheap gas and relative prosperity. We weren't big on environmental issues, but we rebelled somewhat against the "cool" that baby boomers worshiped. We were the "Revenge of the Nerds" generation. The millennials take it one step further. They are growing up when gas is hideously expensive, environmental issues are inescapable, and their prospects for affluence are much dimmer than the Gen-Xers. A car represents a burden. Something that will break down, cost lots of money, requires insurance, etc. Not to mention that often a car means debt, which in a post-2008 world looks like a form of slavery to many. In conjunction with removing the social stigma that being "dorky" had in previous generations, it's a lot of incentive for kids to just not bother and find alternative means to get around. Once they learn how to not need a car, it's a high hurdle to convince someone that they need one.
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Old 03-27-14, 03:29 PM   #6
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Baby boomers love their cars...
Some do, some don't. I'm a boomer who was influenced by the ecology movement, and I'm about as anti-car as they come.
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Old 03-27-14, 03:31 PM   #7
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I imagine I'll eventually have to have a car in the future.
Why?

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Old 03-27-14, 03:55 PM   #8
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Dependence on cars is becoming an old person thing. The more this becomes the case, the fewer young people (or people who see themselves as young or who want to be seen as young) will drive. It's nice to see a positive feedback loop that is truly positive.

As usual, I'm out of place as an old person who sees himself as old but still refuses to be dependent on a car.
IIRC, there was also a decline in driving among those over 50.

Anyhoo, I think this whole generational thing is overblown by the media. They love to write simplistic and superficial articles like the one we are discussing here.

I'm starting to think that young people have diverse reasons for being carfree, just as their seniors do. These reasons might include a dislike of driving, financial considerations, a simpler and healthier lifestyle, and concern for the environment.
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Old 03-27-14, 04:11 PM   #9
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Younger people also go to church less often, so you'll be seeing new campaigns from both of these parties pretty soon.
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Old 03-27-14, 04:59 PM   #10
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I love the comments section on all of these 'millenials aren't driving' articles. They generally seem to try to summarize everything into a solid nexus.

1. It's the economy, stupid.
2. Kids these days are lazy: their parents are driving them around anyway.
3. So much student debt, like OMG!

1 and 3 have some merit, but I think that it's a bunch of things.

For starters, my 8 year old comes home and talks about saving nature and about how cars emit gasses that are bad for people. He doesn't get it from me; I'm car free for the money, not for the environment. A lot of the younger adults have been raised in a world where global warming has always been a thing.

We're increasing population more quickly than we're building roads. Additionally, younger adults are more willing to try new things. No 40 or 50 year old is going to stop what they're doing and reassess something as major as car ownership. But when a 20 something moves out of the house, you can bet that they sit down and take a good hard look at exactly what they need. This means that in a world where more people are taking up space on the same number of roads, there's a greater likelihood that somebody who's actually assessing their needs is going to say that a bike or bus pass is enough.

Delayed licensing. More states aren't allowing kids to drive by themselves until they're 18. This means that they go through a major phase in which they learn how to be independent adults without cars. Put another way, cars are no longer a defining characteristic of teen's lives until they are legally an adult. By then, they've already learned how to get around without them.
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Old 03-27-14, 05:07 PM   #11
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The global warming propaganda has certainly made a major hit. Along with the skyrocketing costs of cars themselves. That, and many young people just don't leave the house and spend their free time on their computer, phone and playing video games.

Compared to 20/30 years ago, the streets are deserted. It is very rare to see kids out running or playing a sport outdoors. The suburbs have turned into ghosttowns.

The kids are either packed into malls, or at home, eyes glued to electronics.
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Old 03-27-14, 05:40 PM   #12
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The global warming propaganda has certainly made a major hit. Along with the skyrocketing costs of cars themselves. That, and many young people just don't leave the house and spend their free time on their computer, phone and playing video games.

Compared to 20/30 years ago, the streets are deserted. It is very rare to see kids out running or playing a sport outdoors. The suburbs have turned into ghosttowns.

The kids are either packed into malls, or at home, eyes glued to electronics.
Hah, that's me. Born in 1977, I was one of the first true poster children of the video game generation. I remember playing on an Atari 2600 and a Commodore Pet when I was a child, and I can recall vividly how these games grew more sophisticated over the years. When I was a teenager, the average arcade game player was 18, and nowadays that age has gone up as my generation keeps on playing games along with younger kids.

But I guess I'm off on a bit of a tangent. The idea of less people driving is heartwarming to me, even though Ontario's economy depends heavily on cars and my machine shop may feel the pinch in the years to come (we don't do anything auto-related, but a general decline in the economy will still hurt us).

I became car-free when I lost my job about ten years ago (and house-free and belongings-free). I could afford one again now, but I no longer want one.
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Old 03-27-14, 05:42 PM   #13
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I imagine I'll have to have a car in the future.
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Why?
Well, I'm just not sure if I'd be able to be car-free for my entire life. My family moved a lot when I was a child, so I don't picture my life staying the same; I might need to move to different cities for employment and live farther away in less expensive suburbs- hence, a car being an essential evil.


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...When I was a teenager, the average arcade game player was 18, and nowadays that age has gone up as my generation keeps on playing games along with younger kids.
I miss those. My family used to have a couple of pin ball machines, but my parents had to get rid of them because we were moving across the country.

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The idea of less people driving is heartwarming to me, even though Ontario's economy depends heavily on cars and my machine shop may feel the pinch in the years to come (we don't do anything auto-related, but a general decline in the economy will still hurt us).
Even though fewer millenials are driving in the U.S., business is still booming for car mechanics because people are deciding to keep their cars longer than trade them in for newer ones, due to the lackluster economy. I think mechanics will always be needed, even if cycling becomes more popular, but they could always change jobs, from repairing cars to repairing bikes.

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I became car-free when I lost my job about ten years ago (and house-free and belongings-free). I could afford one again now, but I no longer want one.
I saw how stressful my parents were when my father's car kept breaking down, needing hundreds of dollars in repairs, and I decided that I didn't want that type of life, anymore.

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Old 03-27-14, 06:55 PM   #14
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From the article:

"Auto manufacturers today are scratching their heads, trying to figure out why the millennial generation has little-to-no interest in owning a car."

This is false. The auto manufacturers know exactly what's going on but they can't do anything beause the only way to get the millennials back is to build a car that costs under $8,000.00 USD or less! Since the auto manfacturers have no intention of making a vehicle that cheap, they are in a bind trying to find some marketing gimmick that will bring the millennials into the showrooms. LOL!

Last year, USA Today reported the average price of a new car was $31,252.00 dollars! The aveage price of a new car just 13 years ago was $18,000. So I suspect in the next 15 years, the average price of a new vehicle will be $50,000.00!

Quite frankly, the manfacturers are pricing themselves out of future generation.
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Old 03-27-14, 07:13 PM   #15
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100 years ago, Henry Ford changed the nation by paying his employees twice the average wage about $5.00 dollars an hour. This was $15.00 dollars an hour today and if these auto manfacturers want to sell cars, they better start by hiring thousands of these millennials at top wages. However, they have cut their throat by closing scores of factories and shipping the work overseas.

Henry Ford:

"The owner, the employees, and the buying public are all one and the same, and unless an industry can so manage itself as to keep wages high and prices low it destroys itself, for otherwise it limits the number of its customers. One’s own employees ought to be one’s own best customers.”


http://www.saturdayeveningpost.com/2...imum-wage.html

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Old 03-27-14, 07:43 PM   #16
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No 40 or 50 year old is going to stop what they're doing and reassess something as major as car ownership.
Really?
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Old 03-27-14, 07:47 PM   #17
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Anyhoo, I think this whole generational thing is overblown by the media. They love to write simplistic and superficial articles like the one we are discussing here.
Overblown generalizing also by some of the other posters on this thread.
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Old 03-27-14, 07:56 PM   #18
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The auto manufactures are projecting most of their future sales coming from emerging markets like China and India. They're all making moves to strengthen their presence overseas. The US market isn't going to be as important as it used to be. As far as kids are concerned, some are still getting their licenses as soon as they can, but many don't seem to care. It's not at all like when I was a teenager in the 80's. None of my kids seem to care very much about getting their first car, or getting a drivers license.
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Old 03-27-14, 09:34 PM   #19
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100 years ago, Henry Ford changed the nation by paying his employees twice the average wage about $5.00 dollars an hour. This was $15.00 dollars an hour today and if these auto manfacturers want to sell cars, they better start by hiring thousands of these millennials at top wages. However, they have cut their throat by closing scores of factories and shipping the work overseas.

Henry Ford:

"The owner, the employees, and the buying public are all one and the same, and unless an industry can so manage itself as to keep wages high and prices low it destroys itself, for otherwise it limits the number of its customers. One’s own employees ought to be one’s own best customers.”


http://www.saturdayeveningpost.com/2...imum-wage.html
Ford paid $5 a day, not $5 an hour. It was still big wages at the time. Auto workers continued to make good money throughout the 20th century. Not only could they afford a couple cars, but most had a nice home and either a big boat or a cottage "up north" in Michigan, as well as putting their kids through college so they wouldn't have to build cars too.

Starting in the early 2000s, auto workers took a string of cuts to their wages and benefits. During the bailout days, they cut new workers starting hourly pay in half, from about $28 to $14. Insurance, pensions, and SUB benefits were also diminished.

Auto industry analysts say that most of the reductions in the work force were caused by robots and automation, not foreign competition or lowered demand for cars. So the workers are enormously more productive than they were 20 years ago, but also making less money. That's why capitalism sucks.
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Old 03-27-14, 09:38 PM   #20
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I read the article. I still believe it is mostly an economic issue.

One thing car manufactures could do to capture the individuals who really aren't interested in driving would be to push really hard for autonomous cars. Selling a car that would allow all of the passengers to focus on their electronic communication devices instead of the road would be a big selling point. Travel across town while watching your favorite sit-com or have a video call with your friends around the world while traveling to work or school. Such a feature would make cars seem more practical because people could do two things at once. Sitting in traffic wouldn't really be drudgery because they would be occupied with their electronic devices.
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Old 03-27-14, 11:47 PM   #21
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Baby boomers love their cars....
That's a stereotype, and like all stereotypes, it's not really accurate. I grew up in the 60s, in the outer suburbs where nothing was really close enough for easy walking (though I walked anyway). My father was even a mechanic. We had cars but they were nothing more than a means of going somewhere. My parents made me take driver ed in high school. I hated it and successfully resisted getting a license until I was 24. Even then, I got a motorcycle license, and wasn't licensed to drive a car until a year later. I didn't own a car until I was 30. My last car died about 13 years ago, and I've never looked back.
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Old 03-28-14, 12:46 AM   #22
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This all sounds fine for Urban Dwellers, but those of us that choose to live in more Rural Areas owning a vehicle is an absolute necessity. Not to mention that it is a little hard to haul the 14' boat or the Canoe up north for a weekend of fishing with a bike. ( the bikes do come along though ). Just my rural perspective.
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Old 03-28-14, 02:54 AM   #23
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This all sounds fine for Urban Dwellers, but those of us that choose to live in more Rural Areas owning a vehicle is an absolute necessity. Not to mention that it is a little hard to haul the 14' boat or the Canoe up north for a weekend of fishing with a bike. ( the bikes do come along though ). Just my rural perspective.
Welcome to LCF!

Judging by a couple messages you've posted, you seem a little uncomfortable about the concept of carfree. Don't worry....nobody here is going to judge you if you need or want to keep a car.

If you're looking for info about driving your car less, you've come to the right place. We have several people posting here who live in rural areas. Some have cars and some are carfree. If you'd like to hear their perspective, I suggest that you start a new thread about rural issues, or scroll through the index and find previous threads on the topic. This thread is about young people driving less.
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Old 03-28-14, 08:46 AM   #24
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This all sounds fine for Urban Dwellers, but those of us that choose to live in more Rural Areas owning a vehicle is an absolute necessity. Not to mention that it is a little hard to haul the 14' boat or the Canoe up north for a weekend of fishing with a bike. ( the bikes do come along though ). Just my rural perspective.
This is just to say that it is possible to haul a canoe, not that you "should" do it. The great thing about car-free discussions is learning all the things you never thought you could do with a bike. Thought you might like the pic. The story is at Keep Portland Weird | Terrapin Tales

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Old 03-28-14, 08:58 AM   #25
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That's a stereotype, and like all stereotypes, it's not really accurate. I grew up in the 60s, in the outer suburbs where nothing was really close enough for easy walking (though I walked anyway). My father was even a mechanic. We had cars but they were nothing more than a means of going somewhere. My parents made me take driver ed in high school. I hated it and successfully resisted getting a license until I was 24. Even then, I got a motorcycle license, and wasn't licensed to drive a car until a year later. I didn't own a car until I was 30. My last car died about 13 years ago, and I've never looked back.
Of course even when I wrote that originally I knew that it doesn't apply to all baby boomers. But it's hard to argue against the fact that the 50s and 60s were a heyday for American car culture. With post-war prosperity, the explosion of the middle class, the flood of teenagers from the baby boom, and the much flashier car designs, car ownership was clearly part of the identity of growing up into a young adult to a much greater degree than previously. I stand by my statement. The question of whether it's accurate isn't about whether you can find exceptions. It's whether it's true for a greater number/percentage of people from that generation than those that came before or since (or conversely, the number of exceptions were fewer). I think the historical facts bear that out to be true.
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