Millennials And Car Culture: They Care About Driving, But Not About Driving New Cars

Millennials bring unique attitudes and a different cultural mindset to vehicles than their older peers, but the fact is, they still drive even though they have to abandon text messaging and social media while they do so.

We’ve been seeing plenty of headlines this week about how Millennials don’t like cars and don’t want to drive. The auto industry is sweating because Millennials aren’t buying cars at the same rate that Boomers did in their youth, citing their preference for technology and the Internet over cars. The ultimate question is whether this shift is driven by a new mindset about driving (which will likely not change) or economic conditions (which will likely change). Of course, there’s a possibility that it’s both.

 

Millennials do bring unique attitudes and a different cultural mindset to vehicles, but the fact is, they still drive. But an article in The New York Times cites stats including:

"In 2008, 46.3 percent of potential drivers 19 years old and younger had drivers’ licenses, compared with 64.4 percent in 1998, according to the Federal Highway Administration."

And:

"Forty-six percent of drivers aged 18 to 24 said they would choose Internet access over owning a car, according to the research firm Gartner."

What it fails to note, however, is that new laws restricting licenses for drivers under age 18 took effect during the decade reference, reducing the number of fully licensed teen drivers. As for the 46% of 18-24 year olds who would choose the Internet over driving, that doesn’t reflect the number that would like to do both. What’s more, that figure also means a majority of 18-24 year olds (54%) would choose a car over a computer.

An article in The Atlantic says:

"Growing up in the 'burbs was part of the reason driving was so central to Baby Boomers' lives. Car keys meant freedom. To city dwellers, they mean struggling to find an empty parking spot."

It also notes:

“Surveys have found that 88 percent [of Millennials] want to live in an urban…

 
 

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