When you have a skateboard and access to a bus, why do you need a car?
The fact that young people, those classified as members of Generation Y, are losing interest in cars isn’t shocking news. What is shocking news is that I heard this story discussed on public radio, a sure sign that I’m quickly aging out of the “young and cool” category most of Gen Y fits into.
The story detailed two 20-somethings who have no interest in car ownership, preferring instead to spend their money on things like food and experiences while relying on public transportation and skateboards to get them to the locations of their daily obligations.
There will always be a need for cars, of course, but maybe the next generation will completely redefine how we use them.
It’s easy for a 27-year-old single person living in a major metropolis to not own a car. Between subway systems, light rail and city buses, there are plenty of ways to move around a city without paying for gas. That’s what the young people featured in the NPR story do. Both live in Los Angeles and enjoy their artistic professions and evenings out for dinner and drinks.
Cars aren’t a necessary ingredient in that lifestyle.
But what happens when they grow up, get married, have kids and become responsible for transporting more people and things to locations not serviced by public transport? I have a feeling their attitude about cars will change as soon as they try to strap a baby to the skateboard.
Pretty soon they’ll be living outside the big city and driving a Subaru Tribeca loaded with car seats, baby bottles, soccer gear and cupholders stained with the sticky remains of spilled carmel macchiatos.
Here’s the cool thing, though: Those young people who so adamantly deny car ownership in the early stages of adulthood in favor of saving money will more likely be the ones who make wise financial choices when it comes time to own a car. Yes, they’ll need a 3-row Tribeca, but they’ll probably buy it used and save a bundle versus dropping an exorbitant amount of money on a new car.
As the NPR story said in conclusion,
The simple pleasures and the bare necessities. Perhaps millennials are on to something.
For people living in this modern world, a vehicle eventually becomes a bare necessity. I just think the Gen Y people will be smarter about which ones they buy.
Can you imagine life without a car?